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Staff from our Sandwell education centre attended the Joshua Ribera Achievement Awards at the Birmingham Conference and Events Centre in early February. The event was organised by Alison Cope, the mother of Joshua Ribera, a rapper known as Depzman, who was killed as a result of a knife attack in 2013. Alison had previously visited Nacro’s Sandwell centre with West Midlands Police to give a presentation on the dangers of knife crime to our learners.

The evening was held to celebrate and recognise 24 young people from the West Midlands who are in alternative education provision and, in difficult circumstances, are working hard to turn their lives around. Attendees included alternative education providers, families, social services, referral agencies, the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, a musician and a dance group.

During the evening Alison Cope spoke frankly about her experience of bringing up her son Joshua. After spending a short time in custody Joshua decided to change his life in a positive way by writing lyrics and becoming a grime MC.

Our Sandwell staff gave a short presentation on Nacro and Alison Cope shared her own positive experiences of Nacro and the work we do.

It was a real privilege for our staff to be invited to this event and to have our work with young people and communities recognised.

Nacro never gives up on young people.

Alison Cope

Mother of Joshua Ribera