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From the moment the paint hit the wall on a side street in Redcar, it was clear this mural was going to be something extra special.

A splash of colour on the headquarters of The Chris Cave Foundation, it was created by young people on a Prince’s Trust programme, as part of a drive to highlight the dangers of knife crime.

Featuring the names of some 300 victims who have lost their lives on fallen leaves, it’s no surprise then that the “Tree of Life” captures attention.

Now the project has been recognised on a country level, with The Prince’s Trust Middlesbrough and Redcar Teams chosen as the winners of the JD Sports Community Impact Award in the England Final of The Prince’s Trust and TK Maxx & Homesense Awards. 

“I knew it was something special when the work started,” said Theresa Cave, who was there to support the team every step of the way.

Founder of The Chris Cave Foundation, in memory of her son, Chris, Theresa has committed the last 20 years to supporting the families of knife crime victims and encouraging young people to put the knife down.

Each name on the mural is a family member of those the charity has worked with from across the North-east, the UK, and even as far as the Bronx in the USA.  For family and friends, she said: “It means a lot, to see their loved one’s name on a memorial that we hope will stay there forever.”

Many of the families visited the mural firsthand to add their loved one’s name to the fallen leaves, while photos have also been shared in the Bronx.

Working with local artists, Illumination Art, the young people followed careful instruction to create something both eye catching and beautiful.  They received a grant from UKSE’s Community Support Fund, the Tata Steel business support subsidiary to cover the cost of equipment and paint.

Team members have even gone on to volunteer their time to visit schools alongside Theresa to help spread the word.

The young people were nominated for the award by Prince’s Trust Middlesbrough Team leader, Nathan James, a former Pride of Britain Award winner himself.

On seeing the team selected as the England Community Impact Award winners, Nathan said: “The young people’s passion for this project is something that truly inspired me.

“Seeing the families visit to add their loved-one’s name was so emotional, it made it all feel very real.  It showed us all that what the Team has done means so much to people.”

Kai, 19, of Stockton, said: “I am proud of what we have achieved and to get the opportunity to work on a project like this and the impact it has had.”

Jake, 18, of Redcar, added: “For us this project stood out as it felt like one that would impact most on the community.  People are carrying knives, so this is an important message.”

The Prince’s Trust Team course, delivered across Teesside by the Education Training Collective, is a 12-week personal development course for those aged 16 to 25, who are not currently in education, employment or training.

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