Safe and Sound Supports NCS Programme
Safe and Sound, the Derbyshire based child exploitation charity, has supported this summer’s NCS programme with a series of awareness raising sessions on the issue for young people.
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 their families and raising awareness of the issues in local communities.
Support workers from the charity were invited by Derby County Community Trust to hold sessions for 85 local young people who joined the NCS summer programme entitled ‘Keep Doing Good’ which was part of a national initiative to enable young people to complete one million volunteering hours.
Sessions have focused on motivation, aspiration and building resilience as well as learning more about the effects of Covid-19 on communities across the city. They also supported projects tackling loneliness amongst old people in the city and ran the DCFC food hub at Pride Park Stadium.
Safe and Sound chief executive Tracy Harrison said: “As well as providing 121 support for young people and their families across Derbyshire, an important part of our work is to raise awareness of the dangers of exploitation facing young people.
“During lockdown, the factors that have been triggers for exploitation have been higher than ever. Children have been isolated, confused and have had more to spend online.
“A focus of our work has therefore been to ensure that young people have the privacy setting in place and the awareness of the dangers of online grooming.
“We also know that many young people have faced other issues within the family such as domestic violence financial poverty and alcohol abuse.
“As restrictions continue to ease – enabling increasing social interaction - the need for support for young people and their families will be greater than ever.
“Young people have been desperate to spread their wings and this makes them particularly vulnerable to manipulation whether that is at the hands of sexual predators or drug dealers.
“There is the added danger that unhealthy relationships developed online may now lead to physical contact and we are working closely with our partner organisations to be vigilant to those who are vulnerable to such criminal exploitation.
“We were therefore grateful for the opportunity to work with young people taking part in this year’s NCS programme which has been particularly valuable after these long weeks of lockdown to increase their awareness of the dangers facing themselves and their peers.”
Derby County Community Trust NCS Project Manager Simon Doherty concluded: “It has really important to help the young people on our #KeepDoingGood NCS programme to understand all aspects of child exploitation.
“With the current situation, young people are particularly vulnerable and Safe and Sound have helped them understand the dangers and on building resilience to help them move forwards with their lives in a safe way.”
For more information about Safe and Sound and how to support the work it does, please visit https://safeandsoundgroup.org.uk/