Always An Alternative
1825. Anthony Olaseinde
Anthony Olaseinde, from Sheffield, is a security professional, entrepreneur and anti-knife crime campaigner who has worked with hundreds of young people to turn them away from violence and has designed and installed weapon disposal bins across the city to help reduce knife and gun crime by making it more accessible for the removal of weapons.
The inspiration came after Anthony first started collecting knives in 2018 from worried grandparents, parents and children’s homes, and realising there was nowhere to dispose of these, and that by engaging with communities and giving young people a safe option to dispose of their weapons, they are more likely to make a more positive choice. The bins are manufactured from strong and durable material which is difficult to damage and secured by anti-vandal padlock hasps, with an internal baffle system and one-way chute to prevent anyone from removing items. Designed to be mobile, eight bins have now been placed in communities where knife and gun crime is high and are checked weekly, with any firearms received taken in by the police, and any further weapons taken by a fully licensed security operative to a secure location for disposal. Over 300 weapons have been prevented from reaching the streets, which Anthony has had commissioned to form a sculpture, titled ‘The Tree of Opportunity’, to help promote positivity and growth.
The first amnesty bin was part of Anthony’s anti-knife campaign ‘Keep Sheffield Stainless’, which also involved reaching out to hundreds of young people about the impact of knife crime and helping them with conflict resolution and how to handle confrontations. The success of the campaign led Anthony to establish his charity ‘Always An Alternative’ to further improve engagement with young people, running focused workshops with individuals deemed at high risk of becoming involved in serious youth violence with the aim of challenging mindsets on relevant topics.
In a personal letter to Anthony, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“Congratulations on your fantastic innovation, at the heart of your community, to get knives off our streets. Coupled with workshops teaching young people how to move away from violence, you are making a huge impact across Sheffield.
“I was particularly inspired to learn of your bright orange knife disposal bins which are an innovative and simple way of getting weapons off our streets. It is devastating how many young lives are lost to knife crime and I applaud your efforts to eradicate this.”
“I’m truly grateful for this award, the fact that is was given to me solely from my hard work and not from being nominated makes it all the more special. It is this kind of award that you look at when times feel tough to energise your motivation.”