Safe and Sound, the Derbyshire based child exploitation charity, is supporting this summer’s NCS programme with a series of awareness raising sessions for young people.
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 supporting their families and raising awareness of the issues in local communities.
Support workers from the charity have been invited by Derby County Community Trust to hold sessions for more than 250 local young people who have signed up to the NCS summer programme.
The sessions focus on emotional resilience, how their own lives have been affected by the pandemic and how this has increased young people’s vulnerability to exploitation.
Safe and Sound chief executive Tracy Harrison said: “Our workload has doubled during the past 18 months because the pandemic, and particularly periods of lockdown, has dramatically increased young people’s vulnerability to exploitation – particularly online grooming and by drugs gangs who are running County Lines.
“As well as supporting young people and families, an important part of our work is to raise awareness of the dangers that face any child or young person – regardless of their age, sex, cultural background or family circumstances.
“Our sessions as part of the NCS programme have therefore focused on helping young people realise the link between emotional resilience and vulnerability to exploitation.
“By raising awareness of the dangers facing young people in our own city and county, we hope the NCS graduates will be more confident to recognise, challenge and support others who are victims of or at risk of exploitation in their future lives.
Derby County Community Trust NCS Project Manager Emma Pilgrim continued: “Derby County Community Trust are thrilled to have a long-standing partnership with Safe and Sound, particularly through our NCS programme.
“Improving lives and communities through education is a key part of our charity’s mission, and the workshops that Safe and Sound deliver to our young people is vitally important.
“In teaching them important messages around their own and other’s safety, which forms part of the project’s central objectives, we are helping to set them up for their next steps in education, employment or training. We look forward to continuing our work alongside Safe and Sound in subsequent projects.”
For more information about Safe and Sound and how to support the work it does, please visit https://safeandsoundgroup.org.uk/