Sharing the latest news from the Essex Violence and Vulnerability Unit

You Said, We Did

Working with Essex Council for Voluntary Youth Services (ECVYS) we have produced a leaflet that will be distributed to all youth groups who participated in this year’s listening projects.
The leaflet shows how the views and ideas of the young people have helped influence and shape where we invest funding.
Thank you to all of the youth workers who ran sessions and each one of the 1563 young people who took part in face to face conversations with their local youth workers. These valuable conversations do make a difference.

Sharing information with schools

Over the last two months the VVU team have attended school safeguarding briefings within the Essex County Council administrative area.
The purpose of these briefings is to update and inform senior leaders within the school settings about the role of the Violence and Vulnerability Unit, how we can help and support their work and also how we can improve working together.
The team briefed on the Serious Violence Duty and its implications and opportunities. The Serious Violence Duty is legislation that seeks to ensure councils and local services work together to share information and allow them to target their interventions to prevent and reduce serious violence within local communities.
Over the four meetings the team spoke to more than 100 senior figures in education. The feedback from the meetings was very positive with appetite for future engagement

Girls come together at Bar ‘N’ Bus

Every Wednesday evening a group of young females meet in Basildon to spend time together and build friendships. The Being Me project, run by Bar ‘N’ Bus, brings together 16 females of secondary school age for two hours to chat, be creative, talk to trusted adults, laugh and have fun all in a safe, comfortable environment.
With few places for girls to come together and meet, the Being Me project was set up with the aim to develop potential in young women and allow them to support each other emotionally and physically. The regular sessions have meant the girls have formed friendships and as such are supportive and encouraging of each other which means the group can discuss all kinds of issues and subjects.
The Wednesday evenings are quite varied, some weeks a guest speaker may talk to the girls – their life journey, career or experiences. They do self defence classes, Yoga, art and DIY projects. The group also suggest outings to go on together – giving them opportunities to visit places they may not normally visit.
When we visited the girls were doing creative paintings on things they found positive in their lives or things that represented positivity – butterflies, stars, scenery. The environment was really relaxed with the girls chatting and laughing. They then talked about positive and negative relationships and how to tell the difference – all this against a backdrop of games and music.
This is one of the examples of the local projects funded by the VVU, which work in and with their local communities, responding to the issues identified by local people relating to improving safety.

Responsible Retailers

Specialist police officers dedicated to working with businesses across Essex to drive down crime are engaging with retailers over the sale of knives.
Starting on the 14 November, officers began by visiting knife-sellers across Colchester to seek their agreement to sign a “Responsible Retailer Initiative”, a fresh agreement around the ethical and careful sale of knives.
Retailers visited included Robert Dyas, Sainsbury’s, TK Maxx and a number of outdoor pursuits shops in the city centre, Tollgate and the Hythe.
As part of a renewed commitment to knife crime prevention, the signed agreement will bind retailers to several key points, including:
• An agreement to store and display knives safely and securely.
• Operating a strict ‘Challenge 25’ age verification policy.
• Prominently displaying ‘Challenge 25’ posters explaining age verification to customers.
• Full and robust training for retail staff.
• An understanding of retailers’ ability to refuse sale to anyone if there is a concern a knife will be misused, or if they appear drunk, agitated or aggressive.
• An agreement to share relevant knife crime intelligence with appropriate agencies.
The campaign is now being rolled out across the whole of Essex. It follows on from a continued, concerted partnership effort to campaign on the dangers of knife harm and take dangerous weapons off our streets.

If you would like to find out more about any of the items in this newsletter please get in touch    Visit our website or follow us on Twitter @EssexVVU Instagram: @EssexVVU or Facebook: Essex Violence and Vulnerability Unit