Parents encouraged to attend virtual webinars to protect young people from gangs and County Lines
Parents across Norfolk are being asked to sign-up to a series of virtual workshops aimed at educating them about the dangers of criminal exploitation of young people.
The sessions, due to start only days before pupils return to school, have been designed by St Giles as part of its three-year SOS+ Project, first commissioned by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk (OPCCN) in April 2019.
The 60-minute long webinars, which are specifically created for parents and guardians, are due to take place on the 1, 8 and 17 September.
By the end of each event it is hoped parents will, crucially be able to understand the meaning of the term County Lines, understand the methods used to exploit young people, recognise key signs and indicators and encourage healthy conversations with their children.
Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green, said: “It is vital we do all we can to safeguard our most vulnerable young people and give them the tools they need to make informed decisions for themselves.
“Whether it be as a teacher, a parent or indeed a grandparent it is incumbent on us all to recognise the signs and do all we can to rid our county of County Lines and the knock-on impact it brings to our communities.
“The work the team at St Giles have done across the county to date has been vital in helping young people see the real consequences of taking the wrong path in life and I would encourage as many parents as possible to take part.”
National charity St Giles received £89,028 under the Hidden Victims’ Fund and a further £87,737 under the Home Office’s Early Intervention Youth Fund to run the three-year SOS+ Project which aims to provide 120 preventative sessions to around 8,600 schoolchildren in Norfolk.
Intensive one to one support is also offered for those deemed at high risk and awareness raising sessions delivered to parents and teachers.
Nearly 4,000 pupils, parents and teachers have so far taken part in initiative which is led by ex-offender and former boxer Earl Ling.
During the pandemic, Earl and the team at St Giles, have been working hard to ensure the message continues to be spread – the latest tool being the creation of the webinars for parents.
This follows the creation of an animation, adapted for Key Stages 3 and 4, which tells the story of Nathan who is groomed and exploited by his best friend’s brother.
A series of virtual workshops have also been taking place in the county with education professionals.
Mark Stokes, Chair of Norfolk County Community Safety Partnership and Chief Executive of the OPCCN, added: “The associated violence, drug dealing, and exploitation connected with County Lines has a devastating impact on young people, vulnerable adults, their families and our local communities.
“The work being undertaken by St Giles is therefore crucial in ensuring both parents and young people are given the tools and support they need to prevent exploitation.
“We must do all we can to ensure Norfolk remains a safe place in which to live and work and to send out a strong message to those intent on exploiting the young and old in our communities that Norfolk is not an easy target."
Find out more..
To sign up to a session email: firstname.lastname@example.org, call 0207 708 8047 or visit the St Giles website at www.stgilestrust.org.uk.
Alternatively, you can click on the below dates to open a link to register:
St Giles is an award-winning charity using expertise and real-life experiences to empower people who are not getting the help they need, held back by poverty, exploited, abused, dealing with mental health problems, caught up in crime or a combination of these issues.
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