West Midlands pupils first to see life changing show for teens

[UKPRwire, Fri Mar 20 2009] Birmingham is hosting the UK’s first ever ‘U R A Star’ concert for schools on 24 March, at the city’s National Indoor Arena. Supported by West Midlands Police and other regional partners, U R A Star is set to become one of the biggest shows ever staged for schools, entertaining 5,000 local pupils with a spectacular music event which will tackle a range of teen issues from gangs and knife crime to teenage pregnancy and self esteem.

The brainchild for the event and its headline artist is social entrepreneur ‘The Witness’, whose positive and inspiring music speaks to teens about the issues which affect them, in a way they can really relate to. His savvy street style captures the imagination of young people and encourages them to make positive life decisions.

In addition to Witness’ music act, there will also be a screening of a powerful documentary produced by West Midlands Police about knife crime and poetry from young people about their experiences of this problem. Attendees at the event will also have the chance to sign the UK’s largest anti-knife crime pledge.

Pupils from schools across Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Coventry will be attending the show at the NIA, which has been generously supported by West Midlands Police, the Home Office Tackling Knives Action Programme (TKAP), Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust, NHS South Birmingham and the Youth Offenders Trust Service.

Witness, headline act and the creator of the U R A Star concert, said: “The pressures facing young people today are immense and we need to support and empower them to make positive decisions about their lives. Through U R A Star, we want to give teenagers the confidence to believe in themselves and recognise that they are all stars with the ability to shine.”

As a teen growing up in Birmingham, Witness himself faced difficult life decisions and admits that he made some wrong choices. With his past mistakes behind him, Witness now dedicates his life to educational music projects for young people through his Foundations for Life organisation.

The U R A Star concert for schools has received immense support from regional agencies:

Superintendent Matt Ward, from West Midlands Police, said: “West Midlands Police is committed to tackling knife crime and educating young people about the danger of carrying a knife.

“We really want the young people attending the U R A Star concert to enjoy themselves but to also take home the message that there is never a need to carry a knife and we want them to pass that message on to everyone they know.

“The vast majority of people, young and old alike, do not carry knives and we will continue to tackle the minority who do carry offensive weapons. Events like U R A Star are important to promote the message that there is never a need to carry a knife in what is a friendly and relaxed environment.”

Lakhvir Rellon, director of community engagement for Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Events like U R A Star really help to engage with younger people, many of whom are facing tough decisions and dilemmas of their own, and are unsure who to talk to.

“Witness’ own experiences should hopefully resonate with the 5,000 pupils coming to the concert, and in turn boost their confidence, self esteem and encourage them to look after their mental well being.”

Dr Chris Spencer Jones, director of Public Health from NHS South Birmingham said: “Tackling issues with teenagers means meeting them where they are and putting on a range of events to both create the audience and develop the message; this promises to be a valuable contribution.”

For further information, log on to or call the event organisers, The Big Cat Group, on 0121 200 0910.

- Ends -

Issued by The Big Cat Group. General press enquiries about U R A Star should be directed to Annette Massam, Kenny Laurie or Natalie Hartland on 0121 200 0910 or email Other enquiries should be directed as follows:
- West Midlands Police - Zoe Lee on (tel) 0121 626 5029 or email
- Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust - Emma Brady, Press and Publications Officer; (tel) 0121 301 1298 or email
- NHS South Birmingham – Communications and Public Involvement Department, (tel) 0121 465 8030 or email

Notes to Editors

Witness is one the UK’s foremost Social Justice Artist and social entrepreneur. One of Witness’ projects, Mentoring through Music, was set up back in 2003 after the fatal Aston shootings for the purpose of communicating positive messages through the vehicle of music to young people. Witness and ‘Mentoring Through Music UK’ work on a local and national basis in partnership with faith, community and voluntary organisations, the police, local councils and other statutory agencies such as the Mental Health Trust, DFES and Youth Offenders Trust Service. Witness also serves on the Birmingham Reducing Gang Violence Independent Advisory Group.

‘Witness’ has a deep passion to reach out into the Community and continues to plough his gifts and life learning experiences by frequently attending schools and colleges, mentoring the youth using his music as a vehicle. He arranges various music workshops, teaching youngsters how to song write, produce, perform as well as giving information about other aspect of the music business. He also helps to arrange talent shows and events for the youths to showcase and develop their talents.

Foundations for Life is a unique concept that draws upon the skills, dedication and commitment of many people committed to linking music to other forms of education. A not-for-profit organisation, the mission of Foundations for Life is to inspire, unite and empower young people and communities through education, music and culture in a way that is relevant to them.

West Midlands Police: Last month police unveiled a 12-month knife crime awareness programme aimed at young people to head teachers from across the region. U R A Star forms part of the 12-month plan.

Police have also revealed that young people are not the most likely victims of serious harm due to knife crime, but they are more at risk from personal robbery. In the financial year to the end of March 2008, there were 435 knife-related robbery victims across the West Midlands aged between 13 and 16; less than half a per cent of all recorded crime.

The event is supported by the Home Office Tackling Knives Action Programme (TKAP) launched in June 2008.

Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (BSMHFT) provides a comprehensive mental healthcare service for residents of Birmingham and Solihull, and to communities in the West Midlands and beyond.

The Trust was created on April 1, 2003 by the merger of the former Northern and South Birmingham Mental Health NHS Trusts (which included mental health services for Solihull), and it achieved Foundation Trust status in July 2008.

It has an income of over £200 million and a 4,000-strong workforce, making BSMHFT one of the largest and most complex mental health NHS trusts in the UK.

NHS South Birmingham commissions healthcare services from a range of providers for over 380,000 people in South Birmingham. Primary care services include 64 GP Practices, 70 General Dental Practitioners, 71 Community Pharmacists and 51 Opticians. NHS South Birmingham has a budget of over £500 million for health improvement and to ensure that people in South Birmingham have access to high quality health services.

Company: Big Cat Grou[

Contact Name: bigcatgroup

Contact Email:

Contact Phone: 0121 200 0910

>>Visit website