Safe and Sound Officially Recognises The Work of Volunteers

Safe and Sound Officially Recognises The Work of Volunteers

Derbyshire’s specialist child exploitation charity, Safe and Sound, has celebrated Volunteers’ Week (June 3-9) by recognising the work that individuals do to support its work across the city and county.

Volunteers’ Week, which marks its 40th anniversary this year, is a national celebration of the amazing contributions volunteers make to communities across the UK.

More than 50 people volunteer their time to Safe and Sound in various capacities to enable the charity to maximise the impact of its work to support and protect children, young people and their families whose lives have been affected by child exploitation.

The charity has also, for the first time, presented an award to a particular volunteer in recognition of the work that they have done.

Julia Hodder, who lives in Burton-on-Trent, has been aware of Safe and Sound’s work throughout her career of supporting vulnerable young people.

So, when she gave up her full time job to set up her own business Paladin Education to provide safeguarding and mental health advice to the charity sector, she was also keen to volunteer for Safe and Sound.

Julia has supported the work that Safe and Sound does to raise awareness of child exploitation amongst young people in schools and also provides business administration support.  She has also met with the parent peer group – providing relaxing hand massages -and delivered mental health training for staff.

She said: “There is a real sense of belonging here and volunteers are not treated any differently to full time members of staff.

“It has been a very positive experience and I feel that I am contributing my skills which is helping to make a difference to the lives of young people.”

This was echoed by other volunteers at Safe and Sound.

Mother-of-two Persha Ward’s initial motivation for volunteering with Safe and Sound was to thank the charity for the support they gave her as a young person.

Persha, now in her mid twenties, was referred to Safe and Sound when she was 13 and in a downward spiral of exploitation at the hands of a group of older men.

She is also an Ambassador for the charity – supporting fundraising events – and continues to do business administration work to support the team.

She said: “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.

“As a mum, I am determined that my girls have the best childhood they can and part of that is to support the charity that helped me move on with my life after exploitation.”

Vicki Clarke is a former police officer who is now learning mentor, mental health lead and deputy safeguarding lead at a city junior school.

Keen to get involved in a young person-focused charity, she signed up as a volunteer more than two years ago and has been involved in several aspects of the work – particularly outreach – so much so that she has now taken the post as volunteer lead for this important work in the city centre.

Vicki explained: “I wanted to get involved in something meaningful that would make a difference in our local communities and I particularly enjoy the outreach work.

“I get a lot out of volunteering for Safe and Sound.  It brings me into contact with people I would not usually meet and getting out and about is good for my mental and physical health.”

Environmental scientist Obinna Okoro has just started volunteering for Safe and Sound as part of his research programme at the University of Derby which has a focus on communicating with young people.

“Throughout my career I have been involved in many aspects of education from working with organisations such as Unicef to mentoring in schools.

“My research programme in Derby has a strong focus on communication with non-specialists and young people about energy efficiency and climate change so I know that the volunteer work with Safe and Sound will help me improve those skills in the classroom.”

University of Derby student Amber Dalton continued: “The outreach work and being part of Safe and Sound’s HAF work to provide healthy meals and holiday activities for young people has been amazing. You really feel that you are making a difference.

“As a university student, I am also hoping that my volunteer work will help to boost my CV – especially as I hope to work with young people as a career after I graduate.”

And barista Pete Marris has been volunteering his time to Safe and Sound to take him out of his comfort zone and develop different skills.

Pete supports the charity with writing funding bids which he is able to fit in with his other commitments.

He said: “I have worked in hospitality for many years but wanted to expand other skills and saw that volunteering was a great way of doing that as well as putting something back to the local community.”

Safe and Sound CEO Tracy Harrison concluded: “Choosing just one of our volunteers for an award was a really hard task as they all do such an amazing job for us. Julia has helped the organisation in so many ways and is an asset to the team.

Mrs Harrison continued: “We are proud to be a volunteer-led organisation with more than 50 people utilising their lived experience and expertise to work alongside the 20-strong team with the shared objective of keeping our local communities safe.

“Volunteers from all walks of life join the charity’s community outreach and youth work teams whilst others provide vital support to behind the scenes work from marketing communications to HR and accountancy advice and support.  They are also integral to the HAF programme – delivering meals to vulnerable families.

“We also benefit from the input of our Board of Trustees, Ambassadors, young people and parents.”

Safe and Sound works with children as young as seven, young people and their families across Derbyshire whose lives have been affected by child exploitation including online grooming, sexual exploitation, County Lines, trafficking, modern slavery and radicalisation.

To find out more about the volunteering opportunities at Safe and Sound, please visit https://www.safeandsoundgroup.org.uk/i-want-to-volunteer-my-skills/

Charity’s Plans For New City Centre Safe Space

Charity’s Plans For New City Centre Safe Space

Derbyshire’s specialist child exploitation charity, Safe and Sound, is forging ahead with plans to create a safe place in Derby city centre for young people and families where they can engage with an expanded range of support services and activities to help them re-build their lives.

The charity has secured the purchase of 8 Bold Lane, a former restaurant in Derby’s Cathedral Quarter, which will enable the specialist team to support more young people and families and provide a broader range of services.  The charity will also make space available for other charities and organisations to deliver their services.

Safe and Sound works with children as young as seven, young people and their families across Derbyshire whose lives have been affected by child exploitation including online grooming, sexual exploitation, County Lines, trafficking, modern slavery and radicalisation.

The charity is currently based in rented offices in Darley Abbey and rents further space for activity and therapy work.

Thanks to £250,000 funding from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ Community Ownership Fund, plans are now being drawn up for the restoration and refurbishment work required to make the three-storey building fit for purpose. Work is due to start imminently and take around six months to complete.

The vision is to provide safe and welcoming ground-floor space for a community hub and a wide range of activities delivered by both Safe and Sound and other youth and family-focused organisations including YMCA, Derby County Community Trust and Umbrella.

The flexibility of the space will enable activities and therapies to be expanded ranging from arts and crafts and music to drama and sport.

The other two floors will include space for 121 and group support, meetings and workshops as well as office accommodation for Safe and Sound’s team and volunteers who are based there.

Fundraising for equipment and specialist facilities will continue under the charity’s Butterfly Appeal banner with the first donations secured including the donation of office equipment from Geldards solicitors and a £4,299 grant from Toyota Manufacturing UK to pay for youth activities equipment at the centre.

Last year, Safe and Sound supported a record 343 children and young people who had been victims of or at risk of child exploitation. The charity largely works with 7-18 year olds but includes up to 25 if there are special educational needs and or disability (SEND) issues or children leaving care.

The charity works with boys and girls. Around 30% of the young people have SEND and 29% did not identify as White British. Workers also regularly support young people who identify as gay, non-binary and trans.

Safe and Sound offers a range of innovative, hands-on programmes to help young people understand what has happened to them, rebuild their confidence and move onto a place of emotional safety, protected from further harm.

Support services include:

–           121 and group support

–           Outreach work in local communities

–           Practical support for families including parents and siblings

–           Positive activities for young people

–           Support through the criminal justice system

–           Longer-term support to transition into positive outcomes such as education and        employment

–           Specialist support for New Communities and young people with special educational needs.

Safe and Sound chair Mark Richardson, who is a director of BBJ Commercial, has been working with fellow trustees, CEO Tracy Harrison and key partners in the city to bring the vision to reality.

He explained that the purchase of 8 Bold Lane was the culmination of two years’ discussions and site visits and was a milestone moment for Safe and Sound, the wider voluntary sector and for the vibrancy of the city centre.

“We have outgrown our rented offices in Darley Abbey Mills and there has always been a desire to have city centre premises to provide a safe and welcoming space for the young people and families that our specialist team supports.

“I am delighted that we have found the premises that will be the long-term home for  everyone who works at and is supported by Safe and Sound as well as providing much needed accessible space for other organisations supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our local communities.

“The property has been vacant for some time and is in disrepair so this is an excellent opportunity to see it brought back to life.  Its location next to the Electric Daisy environmental social enterprise further brings new cultural diversity and community to the area

“I am particularly grateful for the support shown by fellow professionals in the commercial property, construction and legal fields who have recognised the value that Safe and Sound brings to our city and county and who have provided us with their expertise to enable us to secure this purchase.”

CEO Tracy Harrison outlined the importance of upscaling facilities and capacity to support young people and their families whose lives had been affected by child exploitation.

She explained that child exploitation was a rapidly growing problem:

  • Almost 34,000 online grooming crimes against children were recorded in the past six years
  • 6,350 Sexual Communication with a Child offences were recorded in 2022/23
  • In 2021/22, there were 17,486 crimes logged by police in England in Wales where children had been sexually exploited – an average of 48 offences a day.

She said: “Referrals for our services have doubled since the pandemic – reflecting the reality that any child, anywhere – regardless of their age, sex or family background – is at risk of child exploitation.

“However, we have been constricted by having to rent premises not only for our team but to provide an expanding programme of activities, support and therapies which are so vital to help young people and their families affected by exploitation to move forward with their lives.

“The Bold Lane premises will be an amazing community asset that will increase our impact  by providing a centrally located safe and welcoming space for children and young people who are at risk of exploitation as well as their families.

“Our youth participation and parents as peers groups will continue to be heavily involved in the project plan – advising us on the facilities they want and we will continue to consult with our Youth Alliance partners throughout the process to ensure that this facility will benefit everyone.”

Mrs Harrison continued: “With the purchase secured, the Community Ownership Fund grant has enabled us to move quickly on the renovation of the property and we hope to be ready to open our doors in early 2025.

“We still have a long shopping list of equipment that we want to buy and special features that we want to include in the community hub so will be stepping up our efforts through the Butterfly Appeal to make this a reality.”

For more information about Safe and Sound, the work it does and how to support the charity, please visit www.safeandsoundgroup.org.uk

Game On For Derby Business Community

Game On For Derby Business Community

Local companies and organisations are being invited to recapture their childhoods and compete in a series of fun sporting challenges based on the traditional school sports day.

The Derby Business Games return this summer after a six year gap and will be held at Derby Rugby Club in Haslams Lane, Darley Abbey on Thursday July 4th between 4pm and 8pm.

Teams of eight will compete in the rounders tournament followed by individuals and pairs going head to head in mini events from wheelbarrow races to the firm favourite – egg and spoon. The afternoon will then finish with the tug of war and welly wanging finale before crowning the team with the most points accrued.

Derby Business Games is being organised by Will Evans who was behind the original Business Games in 2017.  The event is supported by Marketing Derby and a percentage of the profits will be donated to Derbyshire’s specialist child exploitation charity, Safe and Sound.

Will Evans explained: “The Derby Business Games were last held in 2018 and were really well supported by local businesses of all sizes who relished the opportunity to harness their friendly competitive spirit and take part a host of fun activities.

“The feel of the event is an old-school sports day for grown-ups that should know better. The events are planned so that there is something for everyone to get involved in and enjoy.”

Tracy Harrison, CEO of Safe and Sound, added: “As active members of the Derby business community, we are delighted to have been chosen as charity recipients of the event and our staff and volunteers will be taking an active part in proceedings throughout the evening to ensure everyone enjoys themselves.”

The cost of the event is £300 per team with free entry for family, friends and colleagues who are invited to cheer on their teams.

For more information, email Will Evans  [email protected]

Workshop Programme Empowers Pupils To Have A Voice

Workshop Programme Empowers Pupils To Have A Voice

Derbyshire’s leading child exploitation charity, Safe and Sound, has been appointed to work with more than 10,000 school pupils across the city and county to empower and give them confidence to stand up for their friends and intervene safely.

Safe and Sound has devised an active bystander programme entitled I Can I Will which has secured funding from the Derby and Derbyshire Serious Violence Partnership Board under the objective to keep young people safe from harm.

Pupils aged ten to 18 will benefit from the delivery of Safe and Sound’s I Can I Will workshops in the coming year which will be adapted dependant on the age group and SEND requirements. The workshops will equip participants with the knowledge of how to speak up and safely intervene in situations that make them feel uncomfortable. This will include situations where they witness bullying, violence and knife crime. The programme is in response to an 11% in serious violence in Derbyshire between 2019 and 2022 – particularly involving young people.

A survey by Safe and Sound of over 600 young people across the city and county also found that 50% were aware of violence taking place in their area and 37% had experienced violence personally; 45% were most worried about knife crime followed by 28% concerned about gangs.

Safe and Sound chief executive Tracy Harrison explained: “As well as an increase in reported crime, we know there is a growing issue in schools with bullying, harassment and violence. It is important for children and young people to be aware from an early age that emotional bullying can be just as damaging as physical harm and the need to challenge inappropriate behaviours. Peer-on-peer or child on child abuse can be motivated by perceived differences including on the grounds of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or other differences. It can result in significant, long lasting and traumatic isolation, intimidation or violence for the victim as well as the perpetrator who themselves can be facing violence and disruption in their lives. By educating students on bystander intervention, the ‘I Can I will’ workshops empower young people to actively contribute to the prevention of bullying, violence, and other negative behaviours within the school premises and beyond in local communities. These issues obviously need to be discussed in a way that is appropriate for children and very much focus on the positive elements of looking after each other, speaking up when you see something wrong and reporting incidents or concerns.”

Mrs Harrison continued: “We have been delivering ‘I Can I Will’ active bystander workshops in schools across the county having first developed the programme as part of the Safe Derby campaign to tackle violence against women in girls back in 2022 and these have been well received by teachers, parents and pupils. The support with funding from the Derby and Derbyshire Serious Violence Partnership  Board has enabled us to further develop the workshops and to roll this out across the county. We look forward to working with school safeguarding leads across city in the coming year to support existing school policies and actions that encourage pupil voice and pupil action.”

Charity Run for Safe & Sound

Charity Run for Safe & Sound

Congratulations and thank you to Emma Healy at Kedleston Park Golf Club who has raised £1,000 for Safe and Sound after completing the Derby 10k.

Safe and Sound is the golf club captain Brian Spence’s chosen charity this year – inspiring Emma to enter the event for the first time.

Emma said: “I’m not a runner, and should’ve done more training – but I ran it in 77 minutes without stopping which I am very pleased with! The most painful part was starting and finishing at Pride Park considering I am a Forest fan!

“I am particularly grateful to all the members of Kedleston Park Golf Club and friends who have sponsored me for this charity which our Captain Brian Spence is championing this year, and have raised £1000. I also ran for the Ladies Captain charity which is Every Cloud so another £1000 is also going to them.”