PCC Sue Mountstevens and CC Andy Marsh at the Crimestoppers, What Would You Do? event
Last night children from eight primary schools across Bristol put on an inspiring performance at Colston Hall, celebrating all they have learnt about making their communities safe.
The Year 5 and 6 children from schools in south and east Bristol, have been part of a project called What Would You Do?, which aims to help children in hard to reach communities make informed choices, and to have confidence and resilience around crime.
The project has been delivered by Unique Voice, a community interest company that delivers drama and creativity workshops to improve children’s confidence and self-esteem. Unique Voice was commissioned by West Country Crimestoppers to deliver the programme of drama sessions and assemblies in the schools, to help children understand how they can keep themselves safe.
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “I felt incredibly inspired by the project and what it sets out to achieve. A young person should be free to experience and enjoy life, without having to worry about dealing with issues in the very place they should feel most safe, the communities they live.
“As parents, police, partners and the wider community, we all have a responsibility for safeguarding young people and informing and educating them to the challenges that they may find themselves faced with throughout their lifetime. As such, I am hugely impressed by and continue to lend my full support to this initiative. The way this project uses performing arts to address local issues to ensure local communities are safe and feel safe is deeply innovative.”
Central to this learning was raising awareness of Crimestoppers, the charity which allows people to report crime anonymously.
Youth Strategy Officer, PC Karen MacDonald said: “The children from these schools are often confronted with issues around crime which children from other areas are not. They can grow up experiencing anti-social behaviour and witnessing criminal activity and unfortunately, this can become the norm.
“This project has provided an opportunity for us to build links with children who can be resistant to engaging with the police. The experience has given them the tools to improve their behaviours and attitudes and to have a voice to stop crime in their communities.
“It’s just wonderful to see how much they have learnt and to see them showing such pride in showcasing this to their friends and families in such a prestigious venue as Colston Hall.”
David Duckworth, Chair of West Country Crimestoppers said: “Parents and carers will always want to make their communities safer for their children to grow up in but sadly, crime can have such a negative effect on where they live.
“Local people often know who is committing crime, but for whatever reason they can be reluctant to pass this information on to the police. The knowledge that these children have gained from this project, in particular how to report crime via Crimestoppers, has reached families in a unique way.”
Jamaine Douglas, aged 9 from Summerhill Academy said: “We’ve been learning about what makes our communities unsafe, like knife crime and drugs. Before I did this, I didn’t know about Crimestoppers, but now I know what I’d do if I was faced with a bad situation.”
Before going on stage, Sally Bailey, aged 10 who also goes to Summerhill Academy said: “I’m quite amazed I’ve been asked to do this, I’ve never done anything like this before. I’m really looking forward to performing on stage.”
Mr Georgiou, Year 5 teacher at St Barnabas Primary Schoo in St Pauls said: “The journey the children have been on is inspirational, it’s hard to put into words. We’ve seen changes in the children’s attitudes towards learning, their behaviour has improved, and their overall confidence has rocketed.
“The work the children have been doing, like freeze frames and free-style drama, has given them a voice to express how they feel about the crimes which affect them and what they want their community to look like.” - Mr Georgiou, Year 5 teacher at St Barnabas Primary School.
The project was funded by Westcountry Crimestoppers and Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner through the Commissioner’s Community Action Fund. Additional support has come from the Safer Bristol Partnership, Bristol Trading Standards and Catch 22, as well as from local businesses The Bristol Hippodrome, Colston Hall and Barclays Bank.
Another important element of the project was to help bring communities across Bristol together, and for children to learn about the issues faced by their peers from different parts of the city. To achieve this, schools in the east of the city were paired with schools in the south, giving the children a chance to mix and integrate with children from other backgrounds, whose lives and experiences are different to their own, therefore opening up their eyes to different cultures and other people’s points of view.
The Project was started last year and involved three schools. This year, the project has grown considerably and eight schools were involved:
- St Werburghs Primary School in St Werburghs
- St Barnabas Primary School in Montpelier
- Summerhill Academy in St George
- Millpond Primary School in Easton
- West Town Primary School in Brislington
- Wicklea Academy in Brislington
- Broomhill Junior School in Brislington
- Kingfisher Academy in St Anne's Park
If you are concerned about crime in your community, remember you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. They never ask for your name or trace your call.
Posted on Tuesday 8th March 2016