Specialist Derbyshire charity Safe and Sound has teamed up with Derby County Community Trust and Derby City Council to engage with young people in the city centre on Friday and Saturday evenings.

The charities’ outreach teams have been highly visible in areas such as the Riverside Gardens and Bus Station between 7.30 pm and 11.30 pm.

Their key objectives have been to talk to young people about their experiences, provide support, gain information of concerns about criminal activity or signpost them to other organisations.

Safe and Sound CEO Tracy Harrison explained: “We already have established outreach programmes in parts of the city, South Derbyshire and Erewash for the past 18 months as part of our focus to listen to what young people have to say and raise awareness of the dangers they face both online and in person.

“This experience and expertise led us to being invited by Derby City Council to team up with DCCT and focus our attentions on key areas in the city centre where we know young people tend to congregate and are therefore potentially more vulnerable to harm.

“The young people we talked to were very receptive to our approach and appreciated that we are here to support them, engage them in our own youth activities or refer them to other organisations for help with other specific concerns and issues that they face.”

Derby City Council city centre manager Helen Falconbridge added: “This has been an important partnership programme as part of the council’s youth violence reduction strategy to reduce risk for young people in our city.

“If, following the discussions, just one young person recognises that they are being groomed by criminals or thinks twice about carrying a knife then it will have been worthwhile.”