Specialist Derbyshire charity Safe and Sound has marked the first anniversary of its fundraising appeal with a three-pronged expansion of support for local young people and their families.
Safe and Sound supports children and young people across Derbyshire who are victims of or at risk of child exploitation which includes online grooming sexual exploitation, County Lines, Modern Slavery and trafficking as well as raising awareness of the issues in local communities.
The charity launched its Butterfly Appeal last summer as part of its bid to expand grassroots support for young people and their families.
Now, thanks to wide-ranging support from businesses, organisations and individuals as well as successful bids to several national trusts and foundations, Safe and Sound have appointed two more specialist support workers in new roles.
Helen West has been appointed as family support worker – providing emotional and practical to support to families of young people at risk of or victims of child exploitation.
Meanwhile, education awareness officer Angela Baker will work with young people – particularly those in hard to reach groups such as those with special educational needs and with professionals working with these young people to increase understanding of child exploitation.
Safe and Sound’s youth work team has also started a regular Friday evening outreach programme in parts of the city.
The team aims to engage with more young people, raise awareness of the dangers of child exploitation and signpost them to organisations for support and positive activities, including Safe and Sound.
Safe and Sound chief executive Tracy Harrison said: “We are so grateful to the local response to the Butterfly Appeal which is ongoing to ensure that we can support even more children, young people and their families across Derbyshire.
“The impact on the wider family of young people who have been targeted by perpetrators cannot be under-estimated and I am delighted that we now have a dedicated resource to support them.
“We already have excellent working relationships with schools and Angela’s focus will be on supporting and raising awareness amongst young people who are particularly vulnerable to grooming for a number of reasons.
“Thirdly, our new outreach programme takes Safe and Sound back into local communities with support workers visiting parks and particularly hot spots where we know from experience that young people tend to meet up and therefore attracts perpetrators who target them for their own criminal purposes.
“It is this grassroots knowledge and experience that helped lead to the successful prosecutions under Operation Retriever ten years ago and I am delighted that we now have the means to be able to get back out in local communities and proactively work with young people to highlight the dangers that they face at the hands of such individuals and groups.
“The first anniversary of our Butterfly Appeal therefore marks a milestone for Safe and Sound at an important time when young people have been more vulnerable than ever to online grooming during lockdown.
“Having these additional resources in place will mean that we can provide more face to face support as lockdown eases and increase our presence in local communities to give young people and their families the reassurance that we are here to support them with the dangers they face.”
For more information about support the work of Safe and Sound and ways to support the ongoing Butterfly Appeal, please visit https://safeandsoundgroup.org.uk/what-you-can-do/cycle/
Media enquiries: Sarah Jenkin-Jones, JJPR, Tel: 01332 515102/07951 945665; [email protected]
About Safe and Sound
Formed in 2002, Safe and Sound is an inspiring Derbyshire charity that transforms young lives affected by child exploitation with innovative, hands-on programmes.
The charity works at grass root levels delivering individual support to each child as well as families and carers. This vital support enables them to move not just to a place of safety, but emerge unshackled and undefined by their experience and enabled to reach their full potential.
The charity continues to specialise in child sexual exploitation and is now developing its services to support children and young people facing or at risk of wider exploitation which are often interlinked. These include physical and emotional violence, neglect, modern day slavery, radicalisation and human trafficking, domestic abuse, missing episodes and County Lines.
Safe and Sound is led by former police superintendent Tracy Harrison with the support of a specialist team; an experience board of Trustees and now a team of Ambassadors who are helping to raise the profile of the charity and the issue of child exploitation.
Safe and Sound’s expertise came to the fore during the 2010 landmark case – Operation Retriever – which was Derby’s first prosecution for child sexual exploitation and abuse. The charity’s specialist team supported every young person affected by the criminal actions of 13 defendants who were jailed in total for up to 22 years for 70 offences.
For more information about child exploitation, Safe and Sound Derby and how to support their work, please visit www.safeandsoundgroup.org.uk