Virtual Santa Aims To Spread Festive Cheer

Virtual Santa Aims To Spread Festive Cheer

The Rotary Club of Derby has adapted its annual Santa Sleigh to spread joy and excitement to even more children this year and raise much-needed funds for two charities who support some of the most vulnerable local young people. In normal times, the Club Santa Sleigh would visit families in Derby suburbs in return for donations. Due to the pandemic, such close contact may not be possible even in December, but organisers are determined not to disappoint children who traditionally enjoy seeing and meeting Santa in the approach
to Christmas.

Thanks to the expertise of Derby digital agency Think3, families across the county and beyond can visit www.derbysanta.co.uk to book a personalised letter from Santa sent by email or post or a personalised recorded video from Santa. Families will be asked to donate money for the Santa experiences with all money raised being split between two established local charities.

Safe and Sound supports young people across Derbyshire who are victims of or at risk of child exploitation and Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre has, for the past 125 years, organised seaside holidays for disadvantaged children across the county. Post-lockdown and subject to future restrictions, the Rotary Club of Derby hope to take out Santa and his sleigh to offer drive-by cheer to families who can watch from their windows and doorsteps with tours which will be videoed and online.

Les Bryan, President of the Rotary Club of Derby explained: “Our Santa Sleigh is a long-held tradition in the city – visiting suburbs such as Littleover, Mickleover and Chellaston. We are very grateful to our members, Think3 and to Safe and Sound and DCHC who have pooled their positivity and creativity to re-imagine the Santa Sleigh for these unprecedented times. Our hope is that even more children will enjoy a Santa experience this year and still have our fingers crossed that we can take the sleigh out again post-lockdown – albeit in a drive-by and therefore totally socially distanced way”. “As well as bringing much needed festive cheer to families, we have raised thousands of pounds for local charities over the years. Our aim this year is to generate even more much-needed funds for Safe and Sound and Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre this year who both support some of the most vulnerable children in our local communities.”

Safe and Sound CEO Tracy Harrison continued: “We have seen a dramatic rise in the recent months in the number of children and young people targeted and groomed by criminals – particularly online. “We are therefore extremely grateful that The Rotary Club of Derby has chosen to support us again this Christmas. Funds raised will enable us to help and protect many more young people, provide a support lifeline to their families and continue to raise awareness of the dangers facing young people in our local communities.

Bill Tomlinson, a Trustee of Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre, concluded: “The Rotary Club of Derby’s Santa Sleigh is a much-anticipated event every year and I hope that families will
embrace this new initiative. “It will not only add to children’s excitement in the run-up to Christmas but also raise funds to support many disadvantaged children who benefit greatly from a week of fun, education and relaxation at the holiday home in Skegness. “Christmas will be very different for many families this year and I doubt that children will be able to enjoy any kind of Santa’s Grotto experience this year. Both DCHC and Safe and Sound will therefore ensure that our young people and their siblings can also experience the magic of Christmas albeit in this very different way.”

For more information and to make a donation or to book a letter or call from Santa, please visit www.derbysanta.co.uk
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About Safe and Sound Formed in 2002, Safe and Sound is an inspiring Derbyshire charity that transforms young lives affected by child exploitation with innovative, hands-on programmes.
The charity works at grass root levels delivering individual support to each child as well as families and carers. This vital support enables them to move not just to a place of safety but emerge unshackled and undefined by their experience and enabled them to reach their full potential. The charity continues to specialise in child sexual exploitation and is now developing its services to support children and young people facing or at risk of wider exploitation which is often interlinked. These include physical and emotional violence, neglect, modern-day slavery, radicalisation and human trafficking, domestic abuse, missing episodes and County Lines.
Safe and Sound is led by former police superintendent Tracy Harrison with the support of a specialist team; an experienced board of Trustees and now a team of Ambassadors who are helping to raise the profile of the charity and the issue of child exploitation.

Safe and Sound’s expertise came to the fore during the 2010 landmark case – Operation Retriever – which was Derby’s first prosecution for child sexual exploitation and abuse. The charity’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. For more information about child exploitation, Safe and Sound Derby and how to support their work, please visit www.safeandsoundgroup.org.uk

Contact: Tracy Harrison 07534 011026
About Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre: For over 125 years, Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre has provided children across the county with a week-long holiday at
our specialist residential centre on the seafront in Skegness. Every penny donated goes directly towards helping the most disadvantaged children in our society.
We provide disadvantaged youngsters with a break they might never receive, helping with their education and self-esteem; making friends and memories that last a lifetime. We rely solely on financial donations from the public and on those who give up their time to help.

Contact: David Harris 07941 829069
About Rotary Club of Derby: The Rotary Club of Derby meets regularly and welcomes new members from all walks of life who want to make new friends while getting involved in charitable work in the community. Rotary International connects 1.2 million members of more than 34,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work impacts lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. For more information, visit www.rotaryderbyuk.org. Contact: Tim Wherly, Mobile: 07957 882322. Email: [email protected]

Superheroes Initiative Set To Support Safe and Sound

Superheroes Initiative Set To Support Safe and Sound

Derbyshire charity Safe and Sound has been chosen as a recipient for a national initiative encouraging businesses to donate the unused cost of their Christmas charity. Xmas Party Heroes has set up an online platform https://xmaspartyheroes.co.uk/ for donations in recognition that the usual ‘office Christmas party’ will not be possible due to Covid restrictions and enabling businesses to instead support a charity of their choice.

Safe and Sound chief executive Tracy Harrison said: “Although it is disappointing that we will not be able to celebrate Christmas with colleagues this year, the Xmas Party Heroes
initiative is a great idea. “We know that our local business community is full of Superheroes – not least those who donned their costumes and joined our Leap of Faith abseil earlier this year.
“Now I hope that businesses large and small will get behind this great initiative and support us in our work to help transform the lives of children and young people who are victims of
or at risk of child exploitation as well as their families.”

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

New Project Manager for Safe & Sound

I am very excited to have the opportunity to join the management team at Safe and Sound.

I have worked at Safe and Sound for nine years across a wide range of roles. This has never been ‘just a job’ for me, it has been a purpose. Working at Safe and Sound is a path of constant learning.
There is never a time or a day where I have not learned something new, every day, every young person, every family brings something different. The exploitation of children can destroy their lives
leaving permanent scars that have a far-reaching impact on the child, those around them and the communities and wider societies in which they live. It can and often does take everything.
I have an amazing and passionate team of caseworkers, youth workers and volunteers that understand this deeply, know every interaction with a young person or family can have a positive
impact and tirelessly seek out creative ways to protect and connect with all our children and communities to fight this abuse.

This is a challenging and emotional job for them, and I feel truly honoured and excited to support them and support their work vital work in this vibrant city to help change lives. Additionally, our service increasingly seeks to expand it’s working practices to meet the individual needs of families and young people holistically and well into their futures, this to me feels dynamic and full of opportunities to drive change, reduce exploitation and reach more people. It is a wonderful opportunity to be part of leading Safe and Sound’s future.

LOCAL CHARITY AMBASSADOR RECOGNISED WITH CITY AWARD

LOCAL CHARITY AMBASSADOR RECOGNISED WITH CITY AWARD

A 19-year-old girl who has survived child exploitation and is now an ambassador for specialist local charity Safe and Sound has been recognised at the second annual Derby Youth Awards. Louise Murphy-Fairclough has been presented with the Inspirational Young Person Award in the awards programme organised by Sporting Communities and sponsored by Derby City
Council. Louise has turned her life around with the support of Safe and Sound who nominated her for the award as a positive role model to other children and young people across the county who are victims of or at risk of child exploitation.

She targeted online by men pretending to be teenagers who bombarded her with indecent images and persuaded her to do the same through systematic online grooming. The police investigated and prosecuted two of them but then her Facebook account was hacked and photos of her shared with all her contacts – prompting friends to turn their back on her and leading to Louise starting on a destructive path of self-harming. Louise was referred to Safe and Sound and, with the help of her support worker, has been able to start rebuilding her self-esteem and confidence.

As well as being an ambassador for the charity, she is a volunteer youth worker whilst starting her studies to become qualified in the role. She has also fronted fundraising campaigns for Safe and Sound, been part of national training and awareness-raising programmes and has helped create appropriate support and resources for both young people and professionals. Louise said: “Safe and Sound saved my life and I have wanted to share my story and also work with the charity to help other children and young people who have been through similar experiences to my own and to better protect others who are at risk of grooming and exploitation both online and in their local communities.

“I am really honoured to have been given this award and I hope that it helps to break down the taboos surrounding child exploitation and raise awareness amongst young people and
their families about the dangers they face.”

Safe and Sound chief executive Tracy Harrison said: “We are so proud of how far Louise has come. “The mental scars of online grooming will never be eradicated but Louise is determined to
put something back into her local community and work with young people who are vulnerable to exploitation. “Child exploitation includes sexual, County Lines, trafficking, Modern Slavery and
radicalisation and is sadly on the rise. It can affect any young girl or boy regardless of where they live, their family situation, cultural or social background. “As the county’s only specialist charity, we provide a range of support for an increasing number of young people and their families and also work across local communities to raise awareness of the issue. “Louise’s role as an expert by experience is a vitally important one and I am delighted that her bravery and determination has been recognised with this award.”

For more information about support the work of Safe and Sound and ways to support the ongoing Butterfly Appeal, please visit https://safeandsoundgroup.org.uk

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Media enquiries: Sarah Jenkin-Jones, JJPR, Tel: 01332 515102/07951 945665;
[email protected]

About Safe and Sound

Formed in 2002, Safe and Sound is an inspiring Derbyshire charity that transforms young lives affected by child exploitation with innovative, hands-on programmes.
The charity works at grass root levels delivering individual support to each child as well as families and carers. This vital support enables them to move not just to a place of safety, but emerge
unshackled and undefined by their experience and enabled to reach their full potential. The charity continues to specialise in child sexual exploitation and is now developing its services to
support children and young people facing or at risk of wider exploitation which are often interlinked. These include physical and emotional violence, neglect, modern-day slavery, radicalisation and
human trafficking, domestic abuse, missing episodes and County Lines.

Safe and Sound is led by former police superintendent Tracy Harrison with the support of a specialist team; an experience board of Trustees and now a team of Ambassadors who are helping to raise the
profile of the charity and the issue of child exploitation. Safe and Sound’s expertise came to the fore during the 2010 landmark case – Operation Retriever –
which was Derby’s first prosecution for child sexual exploitation and abuse. The charity’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.

For more information about child exploitation, Safe and Sound Derby and how to support their work, please visit www.safeandsoundgroup.org.uk

Local Charity Returns To Its Roots

Local Charity Returns To Its Roots

Specialist Derbyshire charity Safe and Sound has launched a weekly outreach programme across the city in a bid to protect more young people from child exploitation.

Safe and Sound supports children and young people across Derbyshire who are victims of or at risk of child exploitation which includes online grooming sexual exploitation, County Lines, Modern Slavery and trafficking as well as supporting the wider families and raising awareness of the issues in local communities.

The charity’s expanded youth work team is now making weekly visits to various city parks and surrounding areas.

The key objective is to gather information and intelligence about suspected criminal activity, talk to young people about their experiences and provide support or signpost them to other organisations.

The sessions are funded by the Office of the Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner and the team regularly engage with up to 50 young people a night.

Safe and Sound chief executive Tracy Harrison explained that the outreach programme had been prompted by potential consequences of lockdown and continued restrictions which had led to young people spending more time online and therefore being at greater risk of grooming.

So far this year Safe and Sound has supported more than 123 young people and their families – compared with 100 during the whole of 2019.

The majority were victims of or at risk of sexual exploitation but there has also been a greater incidence in concerns about trafficking and County Lines.

The local picture is backed by national statistics.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) recently reported that there were at least 300,000 people in the UK who posed a sexual threat to children either through physical contact abuse or online and a 10% rise in internet offending during lockdown with 4,000 intelligence reports passed to police forces to investigate.

New government figures also show that 377 children were referred to the National Referral Mechanism – the UK’s framework for identifying modern slavery victims (including County Lines) – between April and June this year compared to 182 during the previous quarter.

Safe and Sound chief executive Tracy Harrison said: “Lockdown and the continued restriction on social gatherings has heightened the risk of child exploitation.

“Children and young people have not been in school and their increased stress and isolation has meant they have become used to spending far more time online.

“They have also faced additional issues including increased financial pressures on families and heightened tensions at home which make they more susceptible to manipulative grooming from sexual predators and drugs gangs – both online and in person.

“Our focus from the start of the pandemic was to mitigate the risks of online grooming through awareness of the importance of privacy settings and the dangers of unhealthy relationships.

“As young people have more recently naturally wanted to spread their wings and return to meeting up together, we recognised the need to start the outreach programme to engage directly with young people and highlight the dangers they face at the hands of individuals and groups.

“It is this grassroots work as experienced ‘eyes and ears’ in local communities that helped lead to the successful prosecutions under Operation Retriever ten years ago.

“We are therefore returning to our roots as a charity – visiting parks and particularly hot spots where we know from experience that young people tend to meet up and therefore attracts perpetrators who target them for their own criminal purposes.

“Many young people are telling us that they have been approached online and that they continue to feel isolated because of the cancellation of positive activities which they previously enjoyed.

“We are now sharing this feedback as well as information gathered about any suspicious activities with key partners in the city.

“We also aim to reassure young and their families 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.”

For more information about support the work of Safe and Sound and ways to support the ongoing Butterfly Appeal, please visit https://safeandsoundgroup.org.uk/what-you-can-do/cycle/

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Media enquiries: Sarah Jenkin-Jones, JJPR, Tel: 01332 515102/07951 945665; [email protected]

About Safe and Sound

Formed in 2002, Safe and Sound is an inspiring Derbyshire charity that transforms young lives affected by child exploitation with innovative, hands-on programmes.

The charity works at grass root levels delivering individual support to each child as well as families and carers.  This vital support enables them to move not just to a place of safety, but emerge unshackled and undefined by their experience and enabled to reach their full potential.

The charity continues to specialise in child sexual exploitation and is now developing its services to support children and young people facing or at risk of wider exploitation which are often interlinked.  These include physical and emotional violence, neglect, modern-day slavery, radicalisation and human trafficking, domestic abuse, missing episodes and County Lines.

Safe and Sound is led by former police superintendent Tracy Harrison with the support of a specialist team; an experienced board of Trustees and now a team of Ambassadors who are helping to raise the profile of the charity and the issue of child exploitation.

Safe and Sound’s expertise came to the fore during the 2010 landmark case – Operation Retriever – which was Derby’s first prosecution for child sexual exploitation and abuse.  The charity’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.

For more information about child exploitation, Safe and Sound Derby and how to support their work, please visit www.safeandsoundgroup.org.uk

PCC toasts funding boost with Derbyshire charity

PCC toasts funding boost with Derbyshire charity

Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa has provided vital funding to support a charity’s specialist work with vulnerable young people who are victims of or at risk of exploitation.

The Commissioner visited  Derbyshire-based charity Safe and Sound to meet project leaders and volunteers for an insight into the work they are undertaking to transform the lives of young people and children who are at risk of child exploitation including sexual, County Lines, trafficking, modern slavery and radicalisation.

The charity successfully applied for funding from the PCC’s Large Grant Community Action Grant scheme and was formally presented with a cheque for £24,460.

The funding will secure the services of a family worker to provide specialist support to families directly impacted by child exploitation including the child, siblings and parents.

Mr Dhindsa said: “There are many vulnerable young people in need of support and guidance to protect them from exploitation. Safe and Sound’s work not only helps prevent young people from becoming victims of crime, it also offers support to the whole family which is vital in mitigating all the risks children are exposed to today from social media through to unhealthy or harmful relationships.”

Tracy Harrison, chief executive of Safe and Sound, added: “The impact on the wider family of young people who have been or are at risk of being targeted by perpetrators cannot be underestimated and I am delighted that we now have a dedicated resource to support them.

“Our holistic family support work also addresses the wider issues that affect families – particularly financial hardship and isolation – which can make young people vulnerable to grooming for criminal purposes such as County Lines.

“We are therefore grateful for this additional support from the Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner in recognition of the valuable grassroots work that Safe and Sound provides in local communities across the county.”

Since January this year, the charity has worked with 123 young people and their families. -The youngest person supported was seven years old with the majority then being 14-16-years-old. A third were male and two thirds female and 30% of the young people had special educational needs or disability (SEND). Young people were from a wide range of cultures: the majority white British closely followed by Roma/Slovak as well as some black and Asian young people.

The majority of referrals have been around child sexual exploitation – particularly online grooming which has increased during lockdown – but the charity is seeing increasing risk of other criminal exploitation – including County Lines.

As well as being vital support to families of young people affected by or at risk of child exploitation, further help has included access to food banks and wider services and awareness sessions have continued both online and through the charity’s new community outreach programme which has also been supported by the PCC