Born from the unprovoked stabbing of art student Oliver Hemsley.
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ART AGAINST KNIVES is a young, award-winning charity working with London’s most isolated communities to prevent serious youth violence; through specialist, creative and consistent interventions.

Our VISION is for every young person to build a life they want through creativity rather than violence.

Our MISSION is to reduce violent crime through creativity, working with young people and their communities to enable lasting positive change.

We run creative programmes co-designed with young people. Our specialist interventions build on their social, personal and educational capabilities and through this prevent them from becoming both victims and perpetrators of violent crime.

Through the creative process we support their individual development, help them engage positively with communities, access local support and progress into education, employment and training. We provide both early intervention and targeted support to those experiencing multiple and complex risks, working with experienced specialists and partners. Our current programmes are:


We provide weekly community nail bars for young women, offering skills training, free nail care, safe spaces, mentoring, specialist support, an accredited training programme for 17+ participants, and pop-ups at local businesses, corporates and community events. DOLLIS DOLLS on the Dollis Valley Estate, Barnet has been running since 2012; VALES NAILS has been running since 2014. We house our own specialist IDVA (Independent domestic violence service) ensuring we can respond to their needs, and help them in accessing specialist support. To date, we’ve engaged and supported 462 young women.


On-trend, creative projects for young people that provide industry-standard training and mentoring to develop personal and professional skills. To date, we’ve engaged and support over 600 young people. Current projects include;

  • THE LAB; a weekly pop-up music studio delivered from our shop space in North Finchley. Follow their journey on instagram, tumblr and soundcloud.
  • STUDIO N2, a local partnership model designed to reduce serious youth violence & safeguard young people living in the N2 postcode. The programme of work includes, detached outreach, training local practitioners in our approach to ‘safe working’ and partnership working with the local police, schools and housing associations. Read more HERE.
  • DESIGN+MAKE, delivered in partnership with London College of Fashion, providing skills training, a 12 month mentoring programme and access to higher education. In 2015, it was highly commended by the National Green Gown awards for ‘Community Innovation’. Watch more HERE.


The ART AGAINST KNIVES team are highly experienced, rooted within the community and have expert local knowledge of the communities in which we work. We have extensive experience of engaging with and providing long-term support to some of London’s most vulnerable and isolated young people. Read more about our Trustees and Staff. 

Our in-house expertise include housing, working with young carers, gang associated young people, managing challenging behaviour, mentoring and a Young Person & Violence Advisor specialising in domestic abuse. 

We are proud of our high quality work, which is delivered in line with the most up-to-date legislation and best practice. Our safe practice is guided by our policies and procedures ie. child and data protection – which are embedded in our day-to-day delivery. Please get in touch if you have any questions or require further information.

For more information about our programmes and services or to understand how to refer a young person – please get in touch.

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