The Story


The beginning

Lives Not Knives (LNK) was founded in 2007 when youth violence, gang culture and youth crime was extremely prevalent in the UK. LNK began as an awareness campaign to prevent young people from carrying knives, as well as to make parents and adults aware of the true statistics concerning knife crime.

The T- Shirt

The campaign started with a simple T-shirt which, in bold print, read “LIVES NOT KINIVES”. The campaign subsequently began to gather momentum, as many friends and family wanted to buy the t-shirts.


'Make Our Streets Safe'

We used the money from t-shirt sales to host a celebration for young people so they could have fun in an environment free from violence. Over 150 young people attended and signed a petition to ‘Make Our Streets Safe’. This was then handed over to Croydon Council.

Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Award

Eliza was also selected as the winner of the prestigious Diana Memorial Award- which celebrates the achievements of young people for their social action or humanitarian work.



LNK was chosen by Battlefront, an online media platform that, in collaboration with Channel 4, helped young people to expand their social campaigns. Battlefront helped LNK to train mentors in the community and create a knife crime prevention assembly that could be used in secondary schools.


With this support, LNK begun piloting Roadshows in five secondary schools in Croydon. LNK won two awards for this programme: a Philip Lawrence Award of Excellence and a Princess Diana Certificate of Excellence.

Philip Lawrence Award

Eliza also won the prestigious Phillip Lawrence award in 2010. This award was created to reward the outstanding achievements in good citizenship by young people aged 11-20 that encourage, empower, build confidence, promote safety and reduce crime.


Roadshow expansion

LNK Roadshows expanded and were launched in over 30 primary and secondary schools in Croydon, partnering with LFB citizenship days.

Collaboration with Channel 4

Battlefront and LNK also continued their collaboration and worked on a promotional video for Channel 4. Grime collective Roll Deep also supported the cause and went to St. Marys School to talk to young people about the reasons not to get involved in gangs.


Home Office support

With support from the Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund, LNK Roadshows grew to operate in over 100 schools. All young people working as LNK mentors were also given formal mentoring and befriending training, with financial support from the Home Office.


Move to Centrale

The Croydon Partnership kindly offered to house Lives Not Knives in Centrale shopping centre.

Our first apprentice

LNK took on their first Apprentice, and launched a Work Readiness programme for young people who were long term unemployed, looking after children, or youth offenders who were actively looking for employment but had no experience in a working environment.

LNK Tech

LNK also launched LNK Tech, a programme that taught 9-15 year olds skills in technology.

Women of the Future Young Star award

Eliza also won this prestigious award which celebrates the achievements and ambition of young women aged between 16-21


Registered Charity

LNK became a Registered Charity. A total of 141 young people were supported from the unit, and 78 of them found full time employment. Of the 141, 61 were known to the Criminal Justice system, and 50 of those did not re-offend after taking part in the programme. LNK continued to deliver Roadshows and reached over 10,000 students.


Traineeships and Internships

LNK built partnerships with local businesses to offer Apprenticeships, Traineeships & Internships for youth offenders and children in care. LNK Tech participated in London Tech and held an event called Upskilling Cardboard and showed the community how to use google goggles and virtual reality. Hammerson plc also joined LNK on a 55 kilometre walk to fundraise for the charity.

Red Women of the Year

In 2015 Eliza also was given the award of Women of the Year by Red magazine for her work in the local community to reduce knife crime.


PRU Support

LNK secured an 18month contract to support 42 young people from 3 PRUs (Pupil Referral Units) across two boroughs in further education, training and employment. LNK partnered with NCS Challenge in Croydon, who fundraised for LNK.


Eliza becomes CEO

Eliza Rebeiro, founder of LNK, took over as CEO of the company. This was the first year staff were employed by LNK, as 5 members of staff were hired to work as mentors on the 18month programme. Together they delivered pre-employability and healthy relationship workshops in the PRUs and supported young people with making applications and ensuring their emotional and mental wellbeing.

Online fundraising and Summer Programme

We raised £8,000 online, enabling us to run a summer programme for our mentees and other young people in Croydon. Between June and November we delivered the Roadshow to 53 primary schools.

Sexual Health training

Over the course of the year, LNK staff received young people’s sexual health training and became a C-Card distribution centre. We again partnered with NCS Challenge and fundraised in Centrale shopping centre.

LNK Educate

3 groups of young people helped us to raise over £1000. In November we launched LNKEducate and began a mentoring programme in a Croydon secondary school. We also held our 10 year anniversary event and raised £10,000 to fund a Teacher Resources pack, which was set to be created in 2018.


Social Media

In 2018 LNK made massive strides to increase its social media presence, including updating our website and rebranding our image. Our trustees set us up with current news alerts to keep us up to date on stories relating to knife crime, and organised for us to meet with a social media expert who advised us on ways to make monitoring and utilising various social media platforms easier. We also attended a Facebook training day, which gave us an advanced insight into the industry and taught us skills that we began to implement ourselves to tailor our content for each of the platforms. Along similar lines, we attended the Youtube Space in London as part of the Internet Citizenship Programme, which helped us to create positive and pro-social online communities.

LNK Aspire

We also launched LNKAspire, which involved working with 31 young people from PRU's as achievement coaches to offer emotional support and help find them apprenticeships, jobs or opportunities to reintegrate into education. We also launched our social value paper at BNP Paribas to assess the impact of our work on the local community, and Eliza sat on the panel at the London Child Poverty summit.


Secret Millionaire and Abigale's apprenticeship

The year began with LNK being visited by 'This Morning' presenters Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford and 'secret millionaire' Terry George, the latter of whom, after meeting the LNK staff and hearing about our work, donated £10,000 to the charity. This money was used to fund an apprentice, Abigale, who started working for us in January.

LNK Truck

LNK also collaborated with JJX Logistics, who raised awareness of our charity by having a truck with 'Lives Not Knives' written on the side drive around the country and finish driving through Croydon High Street.

Summer Programme continued

We also held a Summer Programme, which involved providing hot food and hosting activities for young people- such as going bowling or to the cinema.

Mental Health Awareness Day and Black History events

In addition we held multiple events over the year, including a Mental Health Awareness Day in May, a charity football match in June, as well as a Black History event in October.


Furthermore, LNK staff have been interviewed by ITV, Sky News, as well as for the Evening Standard and a Netflix series. Eliza and Abigale also participated in the BBC 'We Can Change the World' podcast and spoke about how LNK was set up and the current work it was doing.

Youth Ambassadors

Finally we launched a Youth Ambassadors programme that involves recruiting young people from the local community to work alongside LNK to promote and support our events and projects.


Co-Op Partnership

We partnered with Co-Op and discussed additional ways that we could collaborate. Co-Op already help raise money for LNK through their membership scheme, and extended this support by agreeing to put up posters advertising our programmes and events.


Like every organisation, LNK had to significantly adapt the way we work in light of the effects of the pandemic. As many of our youth workers were unable to work in schools due to school closures, most of our staff were placed on furlough. Management staff would however work from home to organise the mentoring programme that we would continue for the remainder of the year.

New Website

Over the lockdown period we were able to use this time out of office to update our website and add a number of new features to improve our services. This included our private 'Teacher Resource area' - which gives the schools we work with easy access to more information about the programme as well as our resources.

Summer Programme

As COVID eased slightly in the summer, we were able to host a free six week Summer Programme for many of Croydon's young people. Through this we were able to take young people on trips into London, to museums, to Brighton, ice skating, football, mini golf and many more - and it was great to build a relationship with so many amazing young people in our community.

YEF Programme

Despite the difficulties and uncertainty created by COVID, we were able to set up our 1-1 mentoring programme in 9 Croydon schools. Through this programme we were able to work with around 170 young people deemed to be 'at risk' of exclusion and knife crime - with the aim to try and motivate them to fulfil their potential, make positive life choices, and remain in mainstream education.

Staff training

Over the year our team were also able to upskill in a number of areas to help us respond better to the needs of the young people we work with - many of whom have had their existing issues and concerns exacerbated by the pandemic. This training included in sexual health, youth mental health, the impacts of childhood trauma, as well as domestic violence.

Black History Month

In October we were also able to collaborate with Justice for Black Lives to host a Black History event for a number of young people. Through this we were able to have a great day educating young people about role models in the community and encourage them to pursue their ambitions, reiterating that they can achieve anything if they put their mind to it.


New T Shirts

For 2021 we also got a new batch of T shirts printed - one with our classic logo as well as a new 'box logo' t-shirt. Through this we hope to continue spreading our message, and raise awareness of the prevalence of knife crime still - 14 years after LNK was set up.

Letters to Loved Ones campaign

On the Valentines Day weekend we also ran a campaign to highlight the stories of 3 people who had lost a loved one to knife crime. The campaign was a huge success - and garnered lots of positive feedback on social media and served to raise awareness about the long lasting impacts of knife crime on individuals and communities.

Easter Programme

Throughout Easter we were also able to host a free 2 week Easter programme to help young people have fun, meet other young people and have access to qualified youth workers over the school holidays. As part of this we provided our young people with free food and sporting activities, and due to changes in Government guidelines on the last day were even able to organise a trip to mini golf! The 2 weeks were a massive success, and it was great to see so many familiar and new faces over the break.