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Hero for Art Against Knives turns ten and launches urgent appeal to keep their youth space open
Credit: Arts Against Knives

Art Against Knives turns ten and launches urgent appeal to keep their youth space open

How an award-winning charity is fighting to save its youth space in North Finchley

By Bella Saltiel 10 December 2021

For the last ten years, Art Against Knives has been on a mission to prevent youth violence by building creative spaces co-designed with young people.

In North Finchley, the youth centre acts as a nail bar where young people can access mental and sexual health support from professionals. There’s also a studio space for them to develop music and podcasts.

The charity was founded in 2011 after the stabbing of Oliver Hemsley, a 21-year-old student from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. In 2008 Oliver was left in a wheelchair and his friend Katy Dawe founded the charity with the idea that creative outlets can inspire people to share their experiences preventing isolation and finding solutions to problems that might otherwise result in violence.

As the organisation celebrates its tenth anniversary the Finchley based centre could follow in the footsteps of the 700 youth centres in London that have closed in recent years.

Elise, one woman who has used the services said:

“the staff here are like family to me. They’ve taught me a lot about life. Without them, I wouldn’t have ever considered going to university. I think there’s a really big stigma attached to young people coming from council estates; that you’re not very successful, that there’s not much you can do. But I want to help young people see what I’ve done and inspire them to do the same.”

Help keep their youth space open by donating to their crowdfund. The charity needs to raise £145,000 to keep the space open for five days a week during 2022.

The crowdfunder is now live and available until 14th March 2022: Visit

To find out more about Art Against Knives Visit Instagram @artagainstknives Twitter @ArtAgainstKnive