Idris Elba stages campaign for stronger action on youth violence

The installation was unveiled outside the Palace of Westminster

A campaign from Idris Elba’s Don’t Stop Your Future foundation has launched to raise awareness of increasing levels of youth violence in the UK, calling on political leaders to act. 

With around 247 people killed by a knife or sharp instrument in the year ending June 2023, the cross-medium campaign targeted the Government and the public at large. The campaign includes a music video that features families of victims as well as an installation in Parliament Square depicting the human cost of knife crime.

The installation was unveiled outside the Palace of Westminster on 8 January as a stark representation of those lost lives who will not be returning to class. It features a backdrop of neatly folded outfits, each being the last outfit worn by a victim of knife crime on the UK streets.

The campaign is the first from SILLYFACE, the new creative shop founded by Idris Elba and Marc Boyan (Miroma Group) and was built in close collaboration with the families of victims of serious youth violence.

Sanam Petri, Chief Creative Officer at SILLYFACE, said it was important to her and Paula Bloodworth, Chief Strategic Officer, that the work remained raw rather than the agency imposing creative layers on the finished product. 

Petri said: ‘The power of advertising lies in bringing the story behind the facts and figures to life, and to prompt an emotional response that will lead to meaningful action. The end result is something that has evolved authentically through our work with many of the bereaved families who are desperate to see a change in the law, and we believe it’s what is needed to resonate with the people that matter.’

The campaign urges the Government to prioritise legislation that will ban zombie knives and machetes. A ban on such weapons was promised in August 2023 but has only recently started its journey through Parliament, with campaigners emphasising that unnecessary injuries and deaths are occurring as a result of the delays.

Featured image: (L-R) Patrick Green, Idris Elba, Yemi Hughes, and Bishop Mark Nicholson / Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Don’t Stop Your Future