Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall supports a project to help safeguard youngsters who are at risk of being sexually exploited.

The impactful Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) programme delivered by us and funded by the Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) and Francis C Scott Charitable Trust (FCSCT) is to receive a third year of funding.

Since October 2015 we have been delivering a ‘Be SAVY’ (Be Safe & Value Yourself) programme working with the police in Barrow and Whitehaven. Cumbria’s PCC also financed one other intervention strand; a peer leadership programme for 18-25-year-olds.

Peter McCall said: “I am pleased that we are able to provide the funding for a third year for this excellent project to help keep our youngsters safe.  I have made a commitment to support young people in our communities, and I know that working together with our partners and agencies, like Brathay Trust, that we really can make a difference to the lives and prospects of young Cumbrians. 

“This is an impressive project with Brathay Trust’s programme so far, and the positive difference they are making to these young people’s lives is really encouraging. I look forward to hearing how the programme develops over this next year.  Whilst we are keen to prevent people being drawn into crime, this course will develop skills in our young people which will, I hope improve their future lives.”

Jacqueline Wallace, our Cumbria Projects Manager, is very grateful for the funding and for news that the programme will be extended for a further year.

She said: “So far 21 girls, between 11 and 17-years-old, have completed community based six month ‘Be SAVY’ courses with a residential at Brathay Hall. As a result of that 82% said they were more able to recognise a healthy relationship and 88% felt they had a greater ability to sort out problems they might face.

“This included one youngster who had a difficult relationship with her mum, went missing at nights, was known to the police, and was drinking and taking legal highs at weekends. She was getting into fights, into trouble at school, and once stayed over at the house of an older man she didn’t know. We were able to support her to see herself differently, and to make choices which showed how much she valued herself. Her relationship with her mum improved and, although she was still getting into trouble at school, she was also able to recognise the value of working hard to get the grades she wanted for her future. She is now accessing further support.”

Jacqueline added: “Another success is the peer leadership programme which two young adults completed and which ran in parallel with the targeted preventative work. They helped us to pilot this strand and came up with the idea of an interactive presentation around internet safety for year seven students; which they then designed and delivered to three secondary schools in the Barrow area. Their message was spread further when their story was broadcast by ITV Border and Granada (October 2017).”

And now, with another year’s funding, Brathay will be able to deliver ‘Be SAVY’ sessions to 20 youngsters with the first targeted intervention programme starting shortly in Millom.

In addition, and on the back of the success of their CSE programme in Cumbria, we have secured three year’s funding to expand it into North Lancashire.