Epping Forest Youth Councillors received a certificate in recognition of their valuable service to community safety, from the High Sheriff of Essex.
They also scooped a grant of £1,000 for their project – We R Safe – to improve resilience of young people and help them avoid becoming involved in anti-social behaviour or criminal activity.
Youth councillors Florence New, Jasmine James and Zak Smith, all from Roding Valley High School received the award at a ceremony in Chelmsford last week.
“It was a wonderful evening and it was lovely to hear of all the other projects and services that organisations are delivering across Essex” said Florence.
We R Safe project
The We R Safe project was agreed following a consultation with 80 secondary school pupils at the 2017 youth conference, and a subsequent debate at an Epping Forest Youth Council meeting. It links in with their earlier drugs awareness project and some of its findings.
We R Safe is a young people’s safety project providing support and guidance to help them build confidence and resilience around their personal safety. It will feature 5 short films on YouTube with 5 key messages about safety and being safe, these will focus on realising when you may be in / or getting into a difficult situation, and implementing the Run, Report, Resist and Resilience strategy.
Young people want to feel safe in their neighbourhoods. Boredom and isolation allows the potential for a young person to be groomed, lack of resilience and confidence can lead to them becoming involved in anti-social behaviour and criminal activities and the fear of youth violence is high. The We R Safe project will tackle these concerns and enable young people to feel safe and informed.
An interactive activity map is part of the project, listing local youth groups and activities for young people in the district. The focus for this came from the drugs project where young people reported boredom as a reason for trying drugs.
Help our young people to make better decisions
“We cannot stop our children being exposed to challenging situations” said Cllr Sam Kane, Community and Partnership Services Portfolio Holder.
“The reality is they are out there and as our children get older they are exposed to so many influences, from TV, social media and friends. We hope that increasing awareness of the risks and problems of substance use will help our young people to make better decisions, and as a result achieve better outcomes.”
“Epping Forest district councillors are very supportive of the efforts of the Youth Council in raising awareness of the problem and the devastating consequences for individuals and society.”
“All too frequently plans and decisions are made that impact and affect young people with no actual consultation or involvement of young people. EFYC produce projects that are designed by young people for young people.”