Safe and Sound has completed a second Holiday Activities and Food programme (HAF) across the city as part of our grassroots work to support children and young people who have been victims of exploitation or who are at risk of becoming exploited.
We supported 56 young people through this programme together with meals and some family activities for a further 10 under-fives and 26 parents supporting those most in need. The support was across the city, but the greatest proportion were in Normanton and Arboretum.
The HAF Easter programme was in addition to our specialist one to one support for children and young people up to the age of 18 to enable them to take back control of their lives. This project was amazing in that we were able to support families with both activities and food having a balance of awareness and support whilst having fun with activities ranging from basketball to drumming and opportunities not previously encountered such as family trips to Derby Theatre and QUAD.
It was challenging due to our bespoke programme rather than having an activity centre or school for the whole programme. It was logistically difficult, but we managed it well. The new partnership with Butler’s Pantry was excellent – using their cooking facilities, their activity room and their kitchen.
We delivered support and workshops across the school holidays and our work included development and support for the whole for family including cooking and healthy eating programmes. Safe and Sound are extremely grateful for Holiday Activity Funding to enable the children, young people and families we support to have the opportunities to take part in activities as part of their journeys recovering from the impact of exploitation. They also benefited from healthy food and opportunities to cook with support from the Butler’s Pantry.
Derbyshire-born actor Molly Windsor, who starred in a television drama about child sexual exploitation and has since been an active ambassador for local Safe and Sound, has been officially recognised with an award.
Molly, who lives in Breaston, has starred in several film and television dramas including ‘Three Girls’ which highlighted the manipulative methods used by perpetrators targeting vulnerable children and young people in Rochdale.
She connected with Safe and Sound whose expertise particularly came to the fore during the 2010 landmark case – Operation Retriever – which was Derby’s first prosecution for child sexual exploitation and abuse. Safe and Sound’s specialist team supported every young person affected by the criminal actions of 13 defendants who were jailed in total for up to 22 years for 70 offences.
Over the past five years, Molly has worked to raise awareness of child exploitation, raised vital funds and met with many of the young people and families whose lives have been affected by exploitation and who are supported by Safe and Sound.
Her voluntary work was recognised recently by The High Sheriff of Derbyshire Michael Copestake who visited Safe and Sound’s offices in Darley Abbey to find out more about the work of the charity which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
He presented Molly with The High Sheriff’s Certificate which is awarded to those who go above and beyond to support their local communities.
Mr Copestake said: “Safe and Sound do an amazing job in protecting and supporting some of the most vulnerable young people and families in our local communities and Molly’s dedication to helping the charity on a voluntary basis is outstanding.”
Molly continued: “Over the last few years, it has been a pleasure to see all the fantastic work Safe and Sound is doing.
“Since ‘Three Girls’ aired, I have found lots of people open up to me about child exploitation and their own experiences so being able to point them towards Safe and Sound is invaluable as I know that anyone who reaches out to the charity will be listened to and supported.
“It was such a surprise to be given the award from The High Sheriff. It means a great deal and I look forward to continuing to work with and support Safe and Sound.”
Safe and Sound chair of trustees Mark Richardson added: “Molly has worked tirelessly for the charity and really engages with the young people that the fantastic team here work with.
“We really value her support and willingness to speak about the issue which affects so many people’s lives. Having an ambassador with a public profile is invaluable in helping to break down the taboos about child exploitation which is an uncomfortable but important issue to bring out into the open.”
Safe and Sound supports an increasing number of children, young people and their families whose lives have been affected by exploitation including online grooming, sexual exploitation, coercion to run drugs through County Lines, trafficking, modern slavery and radicalisation.
Last year the charity worked with 203 young people (compared with 150 the previous year) as well as 49 families whose children are being groomed and exploited.
Safe and Sound CEO Tracy Harrison concluded: “Child exploitation had long been a real and present danger across all sections of society – affecting boys and girls regardless of where they lived, their family circumstances, backgrounds, cultures and age.
“Our workload has particularly increased since the start of the pandemic when young people were at increased risk of online grooming which escalated into in-person exploitation.
“Raising awareness of the dangers is more important now than ever and we are very lucky to have Molly as one of our ambassadors.
“The drama ‘Three Girls’ continues to a valuable tool in our work to raise awareness of child exploitation and one of our young people recently said that she only realised that she had been groomed and exploited by who she thought was her boyfriend having watched the programme.
“We are grateful that The High Sheriff of Derbyshire took time out of his busy schedule to visit us, find out more about our work and present Molly with this prestigious award.”
For more information about the work of Safe and Sound and how to support them during their 20th anniversary year, please visit www.safeandsoundgroup.org.uk
Picture shows, from left: Mark Richardson, The High Sheriff of Derbyshire Michael Copestake, Molly Windsor and Tracy Harrison.
Free workshops have been organised across the city aimed at empowering women and girls who are concerned about their personal safety.
The Get Home Safely workshops are run by Derby-company MAX Conflict Management as part of the Safe Derby campaign.
The workshops are being delivered for members of the public as well as to groups of women and girls in partnership with several community organisations in the city.
The aim is to raise awareness about personal safety; empowering and raising attendees’ confidence with practical ways to be more assertive to take control in conflict situations and methods of reasonable force for self protection.
The next three hour workshop is on Sunday March 6 in Derby starting at 2.30pm and places can be booked free of charge at https://www.eventbrite.ie/o/max-training-amp-development-8313931973
Martial arts expert, author and qualified trauma therapist Mark Wingfield set up MAX Conflict Management in 2006 and has since provided the Get Home Safe – Every Day and a range of other self protection training sessions around the world.
He explained: “The workshops are focused on empowering women and girls to have the confidence to take control and be assertive with their voice and body language when they receive unwanted attention, are approached or feel threatened and how to use reasonable force if necessary.
“The overall aim is to stay safe and buying yourself the time to get away from a conflict situation.
“We work through different practical scenarios with role play in a safe and supportive environment so that everyone is more confident if the situation arises.”
Mr Wingfield continued: “Body language is very important and we work a lot on looking confident when out in public places – however you are feeling inside.
“We also talk about the myths of getting your phone out and pretending to talk to someone which is counter-productive. If you are on the phone you are actually distracted from what is going on.
“Similarly, if you are walking or running in a park with headphones on, you are far less aware of your surroundings and particularly can’t hear if anyone approaches you from behind.
“We also talk about the potential red flags that women should be aware of – such as someone stopping them to ask the time. In that situation we advise them to give the time if they wish but absolutely to keep on walking. Don’t show attractive valuables to tell the time to a stranger.
“If a car pulls up, turn and walk in the other direction and head for a place of safety such as into a shop or even knock on a door.”
Mr Wingfield continued that assertive use of voice was the first line of defence.
“Talking calmly and loudly to back away or shouting ‘leave me alone’ usually stops people in their tracks and gives you the opportunity to get away.
“Maintaining personal boundary space is also important and assertively putting your hands up immediately puts a barrier, or fence, in place.
“In the training, to cater for worst case scenario, participants are invited to fight me off. They are totally safe because of all the protective padding I wear. We teach three highly effective strikes which will immediately disable and enable an escape. These work for everyone under pressure and against any size of attacker.”
Among the women who have recently attended one of the Get Home Safely free workshops is 59-year-old Linda.
She was becoming increasingly nervous about going out in the evening to meet up with friends – particularly concerned about parking and then walking to a venue alone.
Her anxiety had been compounded by memories of being carjacked several years ago when she was pounced on by two men in a supermarket carpark who grabbed her keys and drove off in her car.
“I heard about the workshops and plucked up the courage to book a place because, being a single woman, I was feeling increasingly vulnerable about going out in the evening.
“It has given me so much more confidence to be assertive and take control of a situation which I have already had to put into practice when I was approached by a woman asking strange questions one evening.
“I put my hands up as a barrier and moved away quickly as the situation just didn’t feel right.
“It is a sad reality that, as women and girls, we have to think twice about going about our daily lives but I personally feel much more empowered now to go out – albeit taking sensible precautions such as parking in well lit areas and checking out routes in unfamiliar places.”
Safe Derby is backed by the Home Office’s Safer Streets initiative and led by Derby City Council and other voluntary and community sector partners including local specialist child exploitation charity Safe and Sound, Derby County Community Trust and Derby Community Action.
The overarching objective of the campaign is to signal Derby’s zero tolerance towards, and promotion of a city free fromgender-based violence, abuse, harassment and exploitation.
A series of workshops, training, events and new initiatives will be organised in the coming weeks with further activity then planned on key dates later in the year.
Councillor Matthew Eyre, Cabinet Member for Place and Community Development said: “The feedback from women and girls who have attended the Get Home Safely workshops so far has been very encouraging.
“They have spoken about how they feel far more empowered and confident to go about their business, particularly at night, where previously they may have felt nervous or worried.
“This is just one of the many practical actions we have organised as part of Safe Derby but my wider appeal is that everyone in our local communities makes a stand against gender-based violence.
“We all need to be aware of potential situations and taking appropriate action – whether that is asking someone if they are alright or calling the police if they see a situation unfolding or a crime taking place.
“Every woman and girl has the right to freedom of movement and we all have a responsibility to ensure Derby is a safe place to live, work and enjoy.”
For more information about Safe Derby visit https://www.safeandsoundgroup.org.uk/safederby/ and follow on social media #Safe Derby. For more information about MAX Conflict Management visit http://www.maxconflictmanagement.com/
Burnaston-based Butlers Pantry will be teaching vital life and employability skills to groups of young people who are supported by Safe and Sound as part of the local charity’s expanded youth activities programme.
The catering company’s head chef Ralph Skripek will work with the young people aged seven to 16 in his professional kitchen.
Having taught them basic skills, the young people will then be able to prepare their own dishes to take home for the whole family to enjoy.
Butlers Pantry events manager Helen Skripek explained: “Learning to cook from scratch is an important life skill for everyone and it is great to have the opportunity to work with Safe and Sound to introduce these skills at an early age.
“Creating and serving a dish for the first time is hugely empowering and a great confidence booster.
“We also employ a lot of young people in our events team and this will be a great opportunity to introduce them to the jobs that are available in the catering and hospitality industry.”
Tracy Harrison is CEO of Safe and Sound which supports children, young people and their families across Derbyshire who are victims of or at risk of child exploitation.
She explained that the cookery workshops were part of an extended programme of positive youth activities for young people.
“We have recently welcomed an experienced youth worker to the team who is developing an expanded activities programme.
“Our objective is to engage and embrace our young people’s eagerness to learn new skills, make new friends and bring positivity into their lives as they rebuild from negative and traumatic experiences.
“Learning to cook from scratch is an important life skill – particularly in these challenging times with the cost of living rising so dramatically. I therefore hope it will also encourage to cook more at home with their families and potentially broaden their horizons to think about future careers in this industry.
“We are very much looking forward to working with Butlers Pantry on a wide range of programmes in the future and are grateful for their commitment to supporting young people and families in our local communities.”
For more information about Safe and Sound and how to support the charity, visit www.safeandsoundgroup.org.uk
Picture shows: Butler Pantry’s Helen Skripek, Lucy Orme and Tracy Harrison from Safe and Sound and chef Ralph Skripek
The annual UpRight Derbyshire biker convoy has supported Derbyshire specialist charity Safe and Sound this year – delivering hundreds of gifts and food hampers to families
affected by child exploitation.
More than 200 bikers, dressed as Santa and elves travelled from Long Eaton to Safe and Sound’s offices in Darley Abbey on Saturday to deliver the hampers.
Tracy Harrison, CEO of Safe and Sound, said: “We are very grateful to be chosen as the recipient for Upright this Christmas. “Many of the families that we support have faced increased challenges and pressures
compounded by the pandemic and I know that they and the children and young people will greatly appreciate the gifts.
“Equally important is the fact that they will appreciate the sentiment behind Upright Derbyshire – reiterating to our families that they are not alone, that support is available and that they are in people’s thoughts at this time of year.”
For more information about Safe and Sound and how to support the charity, please visit www.safeandsoundgroup.org.uk
In response to the HMICFRS report regarding safeguarding actions required at Derbyshire police https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-derbyshire-59294889 we are disappointed that areas for improvement have been identified but offer our support to help improve matters.
We also feel it important to highlight that, although there are evidently some issues that need to be addressed, the bigger picture is that child exploitation is on the increase both locally and nationally. This, in part, is due to the increased time that children and young people have spent online during the pandemic which has made them more vulnerable to grooming especially by sexual predators and County Lines drugs gangs. Safe and Sound and our partner organisations including Derbyshire police, have all seen an increased workload in the number of children, young people and their families who need support and protection from criminals looking to exploit them for their own purposes. We continue to work positively with the Constabulary in our role as the county’s specialist child exploitation charity.