Monday 18th October saw the coming together of multiple cross-sector organisations across Derby to discuss the goal of making Derby safer for young people through a network of support and strong communication.

Derby City Council partnered with Safe and Sound and local young people from Derby to discuss the safety of children and young people in Derby. Safe and Sound specialise in offering one to one support to those young people and families who have been affected by exploitation in Derby and Derbyshire. Whilst they have previously specialised in sexual exploitation, in 2019 they expanded their services to include support for other types of exploitation.

The Safer Together Summit included presentations from Suanne Lim (Director of Early Help and Children’s Social Care), Tracy Harrison (CEO of Safe and Sound) and Alix Manning-Jones (Opportunity Area Local Programme Manager). Several young people from Derby also gave interactive presentations about their experience growing up in Derby and Derbyshire which then sparked the conversations with those who attended about the reality of growing up in the area and what can be done to protect and improve the lives of young people affected.  Parents of young people who have been victims of exploitation also attended to event to give their advice and feedback from a family perspective.

The summit was also attended by BAFTA-winning English actor, Molly Windsor.  Molly is an ambassador for Safe and Sound and has raised awareness for sexual exploitation and abuse for several years.

On the topic of the summit, Molly Windsor said,

“I think this is so unique in that it is collaborative between so many different people and I think if you were just holding a conference for say, just teachers or just social workers it would be less useful. But bringing everyone together like this, it is eye-opening, and you can tell how engaged everyone is and that is such a good starting point”

One of our young speakers, Rochnee Gillespie, said,

“Things need to change for the better, we need to pull together, we need to have a plan. Not just a plan, we need plans. We need plans for the future. Like I said, its for the future generations and now.”

Suanne Lim, Director of Early Help and Children’s Social Care said,

“This summit really was the perfect opportunity to bring together organisations and young people to discuss the very real day to day life of those affected by exploitation and abuse in Derby and Derbyshire. By opening the floor to these conversations, we can discuss ways to improve the lives of those who grow up, live and thrive around us and offer support to those who need it”.

Through a placed based risk framework, the Safer together strategy will continue to listen and act upon the voice of young people and communities we will change organisational culture, processes, and policies to build safer communities, facilitate better engagement, increase problem-solving and reduce risk.

Tracy Harrison, CEO Safe and Sound said; “It has been a privilege to present at this morning’s Summit but even more valuable to hear from young people and parents. This is an exciting beginning to enable young people, families and communities in the City to have a voice and for us as partners to come together, listen and make the city safer for all”

If you would like to learn more about how you can make a difference to those affected by exploitation in Derby and Derbyshire, visit the Safe & Sound Website.