With almost daily news of stabbings and violence, the shocking increase in crime is a huge concern, particularly amongst young people. One Sussex charity is making a real difference.
Connor Saunders was the kind of child you dream about having. Thoughtful and caring – his kindness was evident from an early age.
He even became an organ donor at 16. A gold star pupil with a passion for football, what made Connor special was the many qualities he had as a human being.
And one night he was out with his friends when he was hit in an unprovoked attack, and with just one punch, Connor was gone.
As One Punch Awareness Week takes hold, we look at how you can help.
HOW DO YOU RECOVER FROM LOSING A CHILD?
It’s the kind of nightmare every parent fears. But eventually, turning something tragic into a positive, Connor’s family launched the Connor Saunders Foundation, to ensure his legacy of kindness prevailed. And to try and ensure that other people’s kids could be safer, and it’s all about getting schools and kids actively involved.
Current violent statistics are alarming. We truly believe that educating the next generation is the best way to prevent it continuing
Set up in 2012, the Connor Saunders Foundation promotes peace throughout Sussex, encouraging schools, colleges and groups all to use their hands to ‘help rather than hurt’. They do this through anti-violence workshops, first aid training, and supplying defibrillator packages to schools, colleges and clubs.
Darran Saunders, founder of the Foundation and Connor’s mum says, “Connor’s love of life and of others continues to drive our work today. Current violent statistics are alarming. We truly believe that educating the next generation is the best way to prevent it continuing, and if it means that we have to use our personal story to stop the next young person losing their life then that is what we will do.”
These programmes have been successfully rolled out across nearly 100 sites in schools and clubs throughout Sussex, reaching just over 7,000 students to date and benefiting groups, clubs and communities too.
HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED?
- Find out if your local school has had the anti-violence talk and first aid training from CSF or received a defibrillator from the charity. If you’d like an update or refresher, contact the charity at firstname.lastname@example.org
- If not, contact the organisation via their website at www.connors5.com. There is a short waiting list each term but as soon as there is a slot, this can be confirmed with the school.
- For small children, a talk can be given and they will be encouraged to join ‘Connor’s Challenge’ where students are asked to do one or two acts of kindness.
Each participating school or group is asked to do one fundraising event for the Connor Saunders Foundation to “pass it on”, meaning another school is reached and the peaceful message gets passed from school to school, spreading the message further and further, making Sussex safer for all.
This peaceful revolution focuses on spreading peace and love, with its key message ‘hands to help, rather than hurt’. The workshops teach children, groups and communities to think for just one second, before lashing out in an act of violence which could carry irreversible and life changing consequences.