The Manchester Amnesty Bee visited the Crown Oil Arena on Saturday, as part of its week-long tour of Rochdale.
The thought-provoking sculpture, created from knives and guns taken off the streets, was produced by the British Ironwork Centre to symbolise the city region's complete intolerance to all forms of violent behaviour.
To coincide with its visit to the club, Rochdale AFC Community Trust held a Youth Summit, where 11-17-year-olds were given the opportunity to have their say on community safety and youth violence. Around 200 youngsters attended.
Charlotte Griffiths, the Community Trust’s Health and Inclusion Co-ordinator, explained more: “We have a national youth summit every year as part of our Premier League Kicks programme where every club comes together to choose a theme to focus on. You can do it around equality and diversity or even around youth employment, but one topic that’s really important for Rochdale at the moment is around community safety and youth violence.
“We have young people here week in and week out playing football on the kick-pitch, so to be able to get them involved in different workshops and activities around the theme of youth violence and community safety was a perfect opportunity for us to tie it all together whilst they were here.
“It was great to see so many young people turn out for the event and for them to have their say on this really important issue. They all took part in various activities, from chatting to us, to getting involved inour giant jigsaw puzzle activity, to simply writing their thoughts down on post-it note, all through the power of football.
“I’d like to thank everyone who attended, as well as everyone who considered the Crown Oil Arena as a location to bring the Bee.”
During its time in Rochdale, the Bee also made appearances at youth centres in Middleton and Milnrow, the Darnhill Festival in Heywood, Rochdale leisure centre, Rochdale Sixth Form College and the Rochdale in Rainbows Youth Pride festival at Broadfield Park.
Councillor Neil Emmott, leader of Rochdale Borough Council, added: “The variety and sheer volume of weapons surrendered is a stark reminder that our need to suppress violence is an ongoing effort that requires a continual focus.
“The Bee is a tangible example of people’s positive choices against violence and shows our community commitment towards anti-violence as every weapon that forms the Bee has been surrendered during amnesty.
“When we see the Bee, we can all reflect on its meaning to us and realise that the each weapon surrendered has potentially saved a life.”