A specialist child exploitation charity is looking for new premises in central Derby to enable it to expand its team and support more young people and their families.
Safe and Sound, currently based in Darley Abbey Mills, 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.
In recent months, the charity has seen a significant increase in the number of young people and their families that it works with across the county and is currently recruiting additional support workers and volunteers.
Safe and Sound is also expanding the services that it provides and therefore needs larger premises to accommodate the larger team and organise sessions such as mentoring and CV writing sessions, positive activities and well-being support.
Safe and Sound trustee Mark Richardson is a director of Derby-based commercial property agents BB&J Commercial and is leading the search for new premises.
He explained: “Our goal is to find suitable premises for Safe and Sound at a subsidised rate that reflects their charitable status and the fact that their work in local communities is largely reliant on the generosity of businesses, organisations and individuals in the city and county.
“A real possibility may be a company who plans to continue offering remote working to employees post lockdown and may therefore have spare capacity to accommodate the Safe and Sound team under their corporate and social responsibility commitment.
“I am delighted to be able to provide professional commercial property support for this important move for Safe and Sound which does such vital work to support some of the most vulnerable young people in our society and their families.”
Safe and Sound chief executive Tracy Harrison added: “We have supported 123 young people so far this year compared with a total of 100 throughout 2019.
“We know that lockdown has been a major factor in this increase with young people spending more time online and therefore easier prey for grooming predators and we have been asked for help by fellow professionals, parents and young people themselves.
“With life returning to normal and young people enjoying more freedom to go out. our support workers have recently started an outreach programme. From feedback and wider intelligence, we know that online grooming activity is steadily converting to face to face criminal and sexual exploitation of young people in our local communities.
“Our numbers of young people and their families who need our support will therefore increase further and we need to now expand our team and also broaden the services we provide.
“We therefore need larger premises and I would appeal to commercial property owners to support us in whatever way they can to make this a reality.”
Businesses and property owners interested in a no-obligation discussion should contact Mark Richardson at BB&J Commercial [email protected] and, for more information about Safe and Sound and how to support the work it does, 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