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.”

Innovative App Provides Additional Security For Local Charity

Innovative App Provides Additional Security For Local Charity

Derbyshire’s specialist child exploitation charity Safe and Sound has piloted a new on-demand security service for its support workers and outreach teams.

Safe and Sound support young people and families across the county whose lives have been affected by child exploitation including online grooming, sexual exploitation, County Lines, trafficking, modern slavery and radicalisation.

Meanwhile, outreach workers and volunteers from the Derby-based charity are a regular and visible evening presence both in Derby city centre and in South Derbyshire. Their objective is to raise awareness of young people around grooming and exploitation, provide reassurance around community safety and gain the views of young people about services and support they needed to feel safer.

The team has been trialling ‘My Own Cop’, the new app-based alert system which has been developed by Steve Rimmington, a former police officer who founded Derby-based Repton Security in 2004.

Mr Rimmington explained: “The nature of policing has changed completely over the past two decades decades for many reasons and I know from speaking to former colleagues and with my 20 years’ experience in the security industry that there is now an increasing need for on-demand security and support.

“Myowncop.com is an app-based alert system which is particularly important for lone workers and small teams who need back up quickly and efficiently.

“Having successfully trialled this locally over the last year, with Repton Security providing the response, we now intend to roll this out across the UK and hopefully overseas by partnering with reputable security companies in each location.

“I have supported Safe and Sound in different ways over the years so I am delighted that they have come on board with My Own Cop to provide additional support for the workers and volunteers who do such a valuable job in our local communities.”

Safe and Sound CEO Tracy Harrison continued: “Although we already have robust safeguarding in place for our support and outreach team members, I was keen to have another layer of security in place for them.

“My Own Cop is a great idea and provides additional support and reassurance for staff in a wide range of roles.”

Safe and Sound Supports Safer Internet Awareness

Safe and Sound Supports Safer Internet Awareness

Derbyshire’s specialist child exploitation charity Safe and Sound has joined thousands of organisations across Europe to highlight the potential dangers of the internet – particularly for children and young people.
Safer Internet Day (Tuesday 6 February 2024) aims to encourage everyone to use technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively and this year the focus is on the importance of age-appropriate digital services, with every child protected, empowered and respected online.

Safe and Sound is a highly-regarded local charity which specialises in protecting and supporting young people and their families across Derbyshire whose lives are affected by child exploitation including online grooming, sexual exploitation, County Lines, trafficking, modern slavery and radicalisation. It is supporting Safer Internet Day due to the growing prevalence of criminals using the internet to groom children and young people for their own purposes.

Safe and Sound CEO Tracy Harrison explained: “The latest national statistics show that there has been an 82% rise in online grooming crimes against children in the past six years since sexual communication with a child was officially recognised as a criminal offence.

“In the East Midlands alone, more than 2,600 online grooming crimes have been recorded by police during that time, which means that literally hundreds of children and young people in Derbyshire have been targeted by predators. “Last year, Safe and Sound supported a record 343 children and young people who had been victims of or at risk of child exploitation and, in the vast majority of cases, the grooming and abuse started online.”

Mrs Harrison continued that online grooming could involve young people being blackmailed into sharing indecent photographs of themselves; have been sent horrific images and pornography and, in some cases, have been coerced into meeting up with the perpetrators and subjected to life-changing emotional, physical and sexual abuse. “These figures are likely to be only the tip of the iceberg with many more young people too afraid or ashamed to ask for help – petrified that their abuser will mete out the retribution they have threatened or fearful that they will not be believed and somehow be blamed for what has happened.

“Furthermore, most people think that online grooming takes place on traditional social media channels but researchers have identified 150 different apps, games and websites being used to target children.” “Online grooming has therefore had a devastating effect on the lives of too many young people and their wider families and we need to do all we can to protect them. “Organisations such as ourselves who are committed to protecting and supporting children and young people who are at risk or are victims of child exploitation and I welcome the annual Safer Internet Day which highlights the need for the robust action to keep young people safe online.

“I particularly appeal to families to far more vigilant about the dangers online for young people. Please set the highest possible privacy settings on their social media, gaming and search engine apps and channels. “Most of us would question a young person as they leave the home about where they are going and who they are meeting. It’s the same for online activity so please have open and honest discussions about who they are talking to online and that not everybody is who they seem.”

For more advice and information, please visit www.safeandsoundgroup.org.uk

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

Golf Day Supports Vulnerable Young People and Families Across Derbyshire

Golf Day Supports Vulnerable Young People and Families Across Derbyshire

A golf day organised by two Derby businesses has raised £2,000 for the county’s specialist child exploitation charity, Safe and Sound.

A group of 64 golfers took part in the event organised by Invictus Communications in Melbourne and German Automotive service and repair centre in Ascot Drive, Derby.

Jonny McPhee, managing director of Invictus Communications has been a long-time supporter of Safe and Sound including installing a new telephony system at the charity’s offices to ensure they could keep their helplines open.

He also nominated Safe and Sound to be the chosen charity for the recent East Midlands Business Awards which raised £13,000 to support their work.

He said: “Safe and Sound do an incredible job protecting and supporting young people and families whose lives are affected by child exploitation.

“Therefore, when we started planning the golf day with Ian Essex and the team at German Automotive, I was adamant that Safe and Sound would be a chosen charity for fundraising on the day.

“Our whole ethos is buy local, sell local and support local and I am delighted that we have once again been able to make a positive difference to this amazing charity.”

Tracy Harrison, CEO of Safe and Sound met with the golfers on the day as they teed off.  She said: “Once again we are very grateful for the generosity shown by Invictus Communications and the businesses and individuals they work with.

“Every penny raised goes into directly supporting young people and families in our local communities through 121 and group support, positive activities and outreach work.

“We can only do this with the support of our local business community and I hope they all realise what a positive difference they are making to so many people’s lives.”

https://www.safeandsoundgroup.org.uk/

https://www.invictuscomms.com/

https://germanauto.co.uk/