Police and Crime Commissioner’s Safer Communities Fund helps make young people safer in Kirklees (29 Jan 2016)

FPSYoung people in Kirklees are more aware about the dangers of grooming and child sexual exploitation thanks to funding provided by the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

Freedom Personal Safety used their two grants from the Safer Communities Fund, which uses money taken from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act, to run Respect Me Too programmes. They received £10,882 in total.

The six-week programmes were run in three high schools and a pupil referral unit and were aimed at raising awareness of healthy relationships, sexting, grooming and how to stay safe from sexual exploitation. Each group of students created their own group projects to share with peers across school so that the messages reached almost 6000 young people.

Evaluation carried out following the programmes showed that awareness of issues increased dramatically with 56% more awareness about sexual exploitation, 59% more awareness about sexting and a 63% increase in awareness about where to get professional help.

Julie Tweedale, Director of Freedom Personal Safety, said: "Receiving this funding from the Safer Communities Fund demonstrated to the wider community that keeping young people safe from these kind of crimes is a priority and that educational prevention work has an impact. We are a small social enterprise and to have our work recognised and valued in this way has helped with our profile and enabled us to reach more young people to share safety messages. It also meant a huge amount to us that Mark came along to two of the schools to see the work the fund was supporting."

West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, said: "Freedom Personal Safety have used their grant with great effect - helping young people understand the very real dangers of sexual exploitation and grooming and helping them to avoid putting themselves in risky situations and potentially becoming a victim is vital.

"I am delighted that monies from my Safer Communities Fund (SCF) has been able to create such a positive impact in raising the awareness of these issues amongst young people and particularly welcome the fact that it is the young people themselves who are creating and sharing the messages. I am

pleased the money has been used to help educate young people and make them safer and feel safer. It's important in my role of PCC to work with and involve communities and in particular young people.

"This is exactly the sort of success story that demonstrates just how much the SCF can do for you and your community."

The next grant round of the Safer Communities Fund opens on 14th March, 2016. For more information and how to apply please visit /safer-communities-fund/about-the-fund.aspx


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