EDP Sports Marketing

EDP Sports Marketing

December 01, 2008 11:30 ET

Portsmouth's David James Launches Anti-Violence Campaign in Schools

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Dec. 1, 2008) -

Editors Note: A photo is included with this press release.

England goalkeeper David James is to spearhead a public demonstration of support by FA Cup winners Portsmouth Football Club for an imaginative non-violence campaign that the club has helped take into schools.

James will join local school children on the club's Fratton Park pitch to display a series of sculptures of guns with their barrels tied up. The sculptures are replicas of the famous original Non-Violence sculpture originally created for John Lennon and which stands outside the United Nations and at 18 other prominent places around the world as a strong symbol for non-violence. The initiative is part of the "Knot Violence" programme, run by The Non-Violence Foundation. The initiative is an arts-based education programme aimed at engaging young people and communities in positive and proactive debate and action around the concept of non-violence and peace.

The sculptures, including James's own knotted gun, will be set out on the Fratton Park pitch in a football-themed 4-4-2 formation, before being sent for display in other parts of the world. James's sculpture will remain on display outside the Fratton Park stadium.

Portsmouth has supported the introduction of the programme into schools within the club's catchment area, including two schools - City of Portsmouth Boys' School and Miltoncross School, which have been working on the project through the club's Pompey Study Centre. David James, himself an accomplished artist, will be working closely with pupils from City of Portsmouth Boys' School to help them paint their own knotted gun sculptures.

"Knot Violence" is a six week violence prevention programme which culminates in pupils painting replica knotted gun statues which are then sited within each school. It begins by undertaking an assessment of pupils lifestyles and attitudes towards violence and gun or knife crime and then measures the shift in attitudes, perceptions and awareness of alternatives to violence after the completion of the programme to see if attitudes have been changed.

"This whole programme is based on the concept that non-violence takes creativity and is designed to challenge young people to think creatively about conflict resolution and non-violence rather than violently," explains campaign director, Clem Leech. "The symbol carries a powerful message, and the interaction with the knotted gun statue through the creative process reinforces this message, we have seen globally how young people respond to our symbol and mores so the statue. The pilot we are undertaking with Portsmouth is aimed at establishing 'best practice' and to act as a model for rolling the campaign out across the United Kingdom and globally into all schools."

"Although knife & gun crime are not regular occurrences in Portsmouth, this is no time to be complacent," adds Lucius Peart, Portsmouth Football Club's Brand & Marketing Director. "We have supported this campaign and its introduction into schools from the start because our club wholly accepts that we have a positive role to play with in the local community. Our players can act as very powerful role models and if the Club can be used to deliver non violence messages into the area of the City of Portsmouth, which helps people listen and learn, then that has to be a good thing.

As part of the initiative, Portsmouth Football Club will not only encourage creativity over violence, it will also offer practical guidance to young people by signposting them towards a range of creative and vocational courses being offered by the city's Highbury College. Highbury provides a vast range of courses which young people, can pursue, from basic skills courses to foundation degree courses, in a range of diverse and creative disciplines, including music technology, performing arts and theatre, art and design, and hair and beauty."

For more information about the initiative, please visit www.knotviolence.org.

To view the photo of Portsmouth & England goalkeeper David James with pupils, please visit the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/DJKnotViolence8.jpg.

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