Derbyshire’s specialist child exploitation charity, Safe and Sound, has recruited more local people to help raise awareness of the dangers facing vulnerable children and young people. Entrepreneurs Persha Ward and Nadia Jane Asamoah as well as University of Derby lecturer Bev Crighton and marketing specialist Claire Morrison have become official ambassadors for the charity.

Mother-of-two Persha Ward runs her own business administration business & Management and was supported by Safe and Sound as a teenager. Nadia Jane Asamoah runs Nadia Jane Performing Arts in Green Lane, and Derby, where hundreds of young people – boys and girls – have trained over the years in a wide range of dance and performing arts disciplines.

As well as lecturing in Business Management at the University of Derby, Bev Crighton is currently employability lead in the education department at Derby County in the Community Trust (DCCT) as well as deputy chair of Erewash Partnership and an active member of the DCFC women’s board. And Claire Morrison helped Safe and Sound raise its social media presence whilst previously working for digital marketing agency, Creationz. They join the existing team of ambassadors: Derbyshire actor Molly Windsor, local business woman Amanda Strong and child exploitation survivor Louise Murphy-Fairclough.

Safe and Sound chief executive Tracy Harrison said: “Our ambassadors have an important role in our work to raise awareness of the dangers facing children and young people both online and in our local communities. Talking about child sexual exploitation is not an easy conversation but our ambassadors doing an incredible job to spread the word about the issue and the work of Safe and Sound in their own networks.

“We are extremely grateful for their support and I also hope that raised awareness will also encourage more groups, businesses and individuals to support our Butterfly Appeal so that we can further expand the range of support available for young people across Derbyshire
and their families.”

Nadia Jane Asamoah continued: “Our dance and performing arts school is one big family and many of the young people feel able to talk to me about things that are happening at home or at school. Parents also confide in me about any concerns for their own children’s wellbeing.

“We have so much synergy with Safe and Sound and I jumped at the chance to become an Ambassador. As well as raising awareness, it is good to have access to an established network of professionals who can offer additional support to young people that we come in contact with if needed.”

Bev Crighton added: “I firmly believe that everyone – but particularly those in education and business leadership – need to understand the issues that affect our local communities and know about the support that is available. Having been an active member of the local business community for many years, I hope that
more people will feel comfortable to engage in talking about these issues so that, together, we can make even further inroads into creating a greater understanding of the dangers that face children and young people.”

And Persha Ward, who was groomed as a teenager concluded: “The support I had from Safe and Sound was amazing. They helped to open my eyes to what was going on, taught me to respect myself and gave me the support and strength to realise that I deserved better. I have been determined that my experiences as a teenager would not define my whole life. When I was 13 I didn’t think I was worth anything and certainly would not have thought that I could have gone onto have two wonderful children and my own business. Those days were a chapter in my life and now I have turned that page.

“My message to young people – whatever their experiences – is therefore to listen to the people who can help – which in my case was Safe and Sound.”

Picture shows, from left: Molly Windsor, Claire Morrison, Louise Murphy-Fairclough, Tracy Harrison, Nadia Jane Asamoah, Bev Crighton and Amanda Strong.