Derbyshire’s specialist child exploitation charity, Safe and Sound, has been chosen as one of just 23 charities and organisations nationwide to be awarded a special grant to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Safe and Sound has been awarded £7,000 to help fund an expanding aspect of its work with vulnerable young people and adults whose learning difficulties and additional needs make them at particular risk of exploitation including online grooming, sexual exploitation, County Lines, trafficking, modern slavery and radicalisation.
The grant has been awarded by The Leathersellers’ Company Charitable Fund which has awarded one-off additional grants totalling £210,000 to existing charity partners to help them rebuild, strengthen and adapt their service deliver post-pandemic.
Tracy Harrison is CEO of Safe and Sound which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. She said: “Sadly, we know a young person or adult with special educational needs is three or four times more likely to be exploited.
“This risk has been heightened by the pandemic with the increased use of social media and online gaming channels by children and young adults – particularly those with additional learning needs and health issues – as it was often their only link to the outside world.
“Their anxiety and feelings of isolation made them extremely vulnerable to predators and we are still receiving referrals to support young people and vulnerable adults who have been groomed online – often over a sustained period.
“Providing one to one and group support for them and their families therefore continues to be our primary focus. We are therefore very grateful for this grant and the continued support of The Leathersellers’ Company to enable us to do more.”
Volunteering with Safe and Sound is a brilliant way to transform the lives of children, young people and families in Derbyshire. As a volunteer, not only will you be supporting the charity in delivering our vision and mission but it is also a great opportunity to learn new skills, build friendships and positively contribute to the local community.
By offering Safe and Sound your time and talent you can help the charity in all sorts of ways such as;
Outreach– join us on weekly outreach sessions and engage with young people in street locations across Derbyshire, signpost and build relationships.
Youth Activities– help at our youth activities such as sport, art and music sessions. We particularly need extra help during our school holiday programmes.
Chaperone – some of our young people have no way of getting to and from the activities we provide. By chaperoning a young person to an activity, you will enable them to take part and build their confidence and resilience for the future.
Fundraising – help us organise events, run fundraising activities or take part in challenges to help us raise vital funds.
Awareness – we are committed to raising awareness of child exploitation in schools, businesses and local community groups. You can be fully trained to help us run awareness sessions and prevent exploitation happening in the first place.
This year, Safe and Sound are celebrating 20 years of supporting children and young people affected by child exploitation. As part of this milestone year, we are planning events to raise awareness and funds to support the work we do.
This is an exciting year to help support our fundraising and marketing activity, and we will be able to provide opportunities for you to get involved, build on your skills and also enhance your CV and job prospects for the future.
Check out some of the exciting ways your skills can help our fundraising and marketing efforts:
This year we have lots of exciting events planned that you can get involved with, whether that is helping us with the organising of the event, helping to market the event or supporting activity on the day.
Check out some of the events we are planning this year:
Earth, Wind and Fire – we are organising an adventure challenge for our supporters to take part and raise money for Safe and Sound. The event will consist of a walk around the city (earth), an abseil (wind) and a walk on hot coals (fire).
20th Birthday Celebration – this gala dinner event will be a celebration of the past 20 years at Safe and Sound. We will be fundraising and celebrating some of our fantastic young people, families and supporters.
Charity Race Night – our annual charity race night, takes place in March and is a fun-filled evening of fundraising for our corporate supporters, friends and key individuals in the city.
UpRight Derbyshire’s Santa Run – this year on the 17th December, the UpRight Derbyshire Bike community will be riding in convoy from Long Eaton to our offices with presents for the children we support. This is a truly special event in our calendar that is very close to our hearts.
If events aren’t your thing but you still want to support our marketing and fundraising activity, there are plenty of ways you can still help. Use or develop your skills by helping us with our monthly newsletter, social media content, funding letters, setting up a charity eBay account and donor relationships. There are lots of ways you can support the day-to-day fundraising efforts.
Awareness and Fundraising
This year Safe and Sound have been chosen as part of the Derbion Cares initiative. Throughout the year we will be raising awareness in the shopping centre, hosting stalls and taking part in fundraising activities such as present wrapping at Christmas.
We also go to community groups and businesses to talk about Safe and Sound. We can give you training to help deliver these sessions.
The support that volunteers provide for Safe and Sound is invaluable and we are very grateful for the time and skills given to us. We can work with you to ensure you develop your chosen skills, provide ongoing support with your lead worker and offer you other training opportunities in your area of interest as they become available.
If you would like more information about volunteering opportunities at Safe and Sound, contact [email protected]
Invictus Communications have lent their support to Derby-based charity Safe and Sound which helps young people and families whose lives have been affected by child exploitation including sexual, County Lines, trafficking, modern slavery and radicalisation.
Invictus Communications came to the charity’s aid when their telephone system stopped working and calls had to diverted to one single mobile phone.
Having been alerted to the issue, Invictus quickly set about conducting a site survey and installing a new telephony system complete with ten handsets.
Invictus Communications managing director Jonny McPhee explained: “We were already aware of the incredible work that Safe and Sound does to support and protect young people and their families affected by exploitation across Derbyshire so were delighted to help.
“Having learnt about their issues, we were adamant that we needed to help. After ensuring they had the right cabling infrastructure in place, we installed the new telephony system to get them back up and running.
“The system enables calls to be logged and can enable incoming calls to be diverted to different handsets and mobiles which is vital with the team busy working out in their local communities.
“As part of our ethos to ‘buy local, sell local and support local’ we have also signed up as a sponsor during Safe and Sound’s 20th anniversary year which includes helping to raise awareness across our business networks of the dangers facing young people in our local communities.”
Safe and Sound CEO Tracy Harrison added: “We could not be more grateful to Jonny and the Invictus Communications team.
“Their expertise in installing the new telephony system has been second to none and we now have the peace of mind that every call is logged and dealt with quickly and efficiently which is vital due to the nature of our work.
“We are fortunate to have the support of such community-minded businesses as Invictus Communications who recognise the importance of the work we do to support and protect some of the most vulnerable young people and families in our society.
“Their pro bono support, sponsorship and the cost savings we will now accrue mean that we can support even more young people and their families and help them move forward positively with their lives.”
A hard-hitting film highlighting the importance of stepping in and challenging harassment and violence against women has been released as part of a city-wide awareness campaign.
The ‘Safe Derby’ campaign, backed by Home Office funding, was launched recently to rally communities across the city to tackle, challenge and prevent violence against women and girls in public places.
As well as a series of workshops, training, initiatives and a capital programme to upgrade CCTV and lighting, a film has been produced highlighting the reality of harassment and violence facing many women who simply want to enjoy an evening out and how timely intervention can help prevent gender-based crime.
The film has been produced by the key partners involved in Safe Derby – Derby City Council, specialist child exploitation charity Safe and Sound and Derby Community Action – working with Derby agency, Future Proof Films, Nadia Jane Performing Arts in Green Lane and Sporting Communities.
It shows a young woman heading out to meet a friend one evening. At first, she becomes nervous when she thinks she is being followed and is relieved when he realises how uncomfortable she is and crosses the road.
The two friends are then harassed firstly by a man in town whose friend challenges his behaviour and pulls him away and then by another man in a bar but, again, the bartender steps in.
There are then two scenarios: the first is when the woman is separated from her friend and heads home alone. She is followed and assaulted but is reluctant to contact the police.
The second scenario is that a bystander outside the bar suspects the attacker’s motives for following the woman and calls her back – checking she is alright and offering to call her a taxi.
Derby City Council Young Person’s Engagement Officer Stevie Wild, who co-produced the film, explained: “Everyone has the right to enjoy a sociable evening out with friends without fear of harassment, inappropriate behaviour and assault.
“The overriding message in this film is that we can all play an important role as an active bystander – recognising that something is not right, stepping in to help and challenging aggressive behaviour whether from a friend or a stranger.
“We also wanted to highlight the importance of reporting such crimes to the police which we know many women and girls are reluctant to do – perhaps thinking that they will not be believed or will, in some way, be judged.”
Councillor Matthew Eyre, Cabinet Member for Place and Community Development, added: “The release of the film is a powerful culmination of the Safe Derby campaign which has included many different elements to raise awareness of this important issue.
“The overarching objective of the campaign has been to signal Derby’s zero tolerance towards, and promotion of a city free from, gender-based violence, abuse, harassment and exploitation.
“Our goal has been to make Safe Derby an important starting point to raising wider awareness of the issue and to empower everyone in our local communities to play their part in tackling gender-based violence.”
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.
Specialist charity Safe and Sound has secured funding from the government’s expanded Holiday Activities and Food programme (HAF) to run a two-week programme for young people and families whose lives have been affected by child exploitation.
Thanks to HAF funding administered locally by Community Action, around 60 young people have joined a wide range of activities such as boxing, table tennis, cooking, music, and crafts. Visits have also included a workshop with HSBC bank in Derby and family outings to Derby Theatre and QUAD.
A key part of the programme has been to ensure the young people and their families, who are from some of the most deprived areas in the inner city, receive a nutritious meal which have been provided by Butler’s Pantry in Burnaston as part of their support for the charity.
The Easter activities have run alongside the one to one and group support that Safe and Sound’s specialist team currently provides for young people and families whose lives are affected by child exploitation. This includes online grooming, sexual exploitation, County Lines, trafficking, modern slavery and radicalisation.
Safe and Sound chief executive Tracy Harrison explained: “Having expanded our youth work provision, we are delighted to be part of the city’s HAF programme this Easter.
“This is a key part of our primary function which is to reduce risks and to keep children, young people, families and vulnerable adults safe.
“The focus has therefore been on building their confidence, resilience and overall wellbeing- whilst having fun.
“We are delighted to have this additional funding so that we can provide nutritious meals and healthy eating workshops through a partnership with Butler’s Pantry.
“Many of the young people and families who we work with are from some of the most deprived areas in the city which increases their vulnerability to exploitation so ensuring they have a decent meal during the holidays is an important aspect of the programme.
“And involving the young people’s siblings and parents have helped them come together, have fun and overcome the impact that exploitation has had on their family unit.”