A SOLIHULL creative director and story artist has teamed up with a Birmingham grime musician on a new song which aims to educate young people on the dangers of becoming involved in county lines drugs gangs.
Theo Thompson from youth group organisation Young Solihull has collaborated with rapper Vader on the song ‘Don’t Pass the Parcel’.
He also wrote, directed, filmed and edited the accompanying video.
He said: “County lines is a serious issue in a lot of cities. When you see a child is missing, sometimes that is because of county lines and the child is being forced to do stuff they shouldn’t be doing.
“You can’t grab attention without a real understanding of local culture. I have lived in Solihull all my life so I very much understand the culture and issues facing people.
“Storytelling has always been the best method to communicate messages of meaning. With us trying to focus on spreading awareness to the younger generation and parents, music is a major key.
“County lines just one major issues families face. Hopefully this video opens eyes to the dangers young people face.”
The song – produced by Mr Snowman, who has also worked with rappers like Bugzy Malone – was funded by the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner’s (PCC) Community Initiatives Fund, which uses money seized from criminals.
PCC David Jamieson said he was worried young people could become prey to organised crime during lockdown, when many of them are out of school and spending time out on the streets.
He said: “I’m very concerned about young people who may be drawn into involvement in county lines and gangs.
“These youngsters have been made even more vulnerable by Covid-19 and not being closely linked into schooling, which makes them much easier targets for the gang leaders.
“Music is a powerful tool in engaging with people of all ages. I hope that young people who listen to this song and can relate to its themes will be able to make the right choices, and seek help if they need to.
“This is just one of the projects I’m supporting which is taking money from criminals and putting it to good use to divert others away from crime.”
Commander for Solihull, Ch Supt Lee Wharmby, added: “We are committed to protecting any young, vulnerable people who are exploited by county lines and gangs.
“It is really important that we do everything we can to tackle and disrupt the drug network and highlighting the dangers of county lines through music is a great way to connect with young people and deter them from crime.”
The Community Initiatives Fund is now open for its second tranche of funding. Organisations can bid for up to £5,000 of the £87,000 pot which will be allocated in August. Visit https://tinyurl.com/yda3yz3g for more information.
Visit https://tinyurl.com/y7ksbfno to watch the Don’t Pass the Parcel video.