Derbyshire Constabulary - Press Release
Two Derbyshire school children have received awards from the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for their part in an Internet safety project (WISE) aimed at deaf and autistic young people.
Earlier this year on March 21 and 22, PAD (Positive about Deafness) Productions staged a series of performances to school children in Derby.
The performances, held at Derby Live Guildhall Theatre were unique, non-verbal productions aimed at educating a particularly vulnerable section of our community about the potential dangers of the internet and social media. Over the two days approximately 300 young people from schools across the city and county watched the shows featuring the actress Donna Mullings who is currently appearing in the BBC’s CBeebies show Magic Hands.
Colin Thomson, a family support worker in Derby for the National Deaf Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (NDCAMHS), said: “This project grew from my frustrations as a family support worker for deaf people. To see it become a reality and more importantly to help keep deaf children safe is brilliant. Deaf children are often targeted and left out of family support so they rely on social media for visual communication in search of ‘friends’.”
At the end of each production, the children who attended were invited to enter a competition to design a cover for the DVD that is now to be distributed to schools.
Hardyal Dhindsa, Derbyshire’s PCC, who has helped to fund the project, said: “It was a pleasure to meet the young people who had produced such creative designs.
“We must do everything we can to protect children and young people, particularly those who are more vulnerable, from hidden harms such as child sexual exploitation and other internet enabled crimes. Stamping out this kind of behaviour is a key priority for me and will feature in my police and crime plan.
“It is very satisfying to see the culmination of such a successful project and I would like to congratulate the winners and the nominees for the very high standard of their entries.”
The winners of the competition were Amelie Searson (10) of Langley Mill Primary School and Savana Beresford (10) of New Whittington Primary School.
Amelie and Savana, along with other entrants, are pictured at Derbyshire police headquarters on Monday, June 20 receiving their awards from the commissioner.
PCSO Jenny Sadler is part of the Mackworth Safer Neighbourhood Team whose area covers the Royal School for the Deaf in Derby. She said: “It was a pleasure to help with judging the competition to design a DVD cover based on the play. The quality from the competitors was extremely high and it was very difficult to choose a winner.
“Well done to our two winners, the designs from everybody showed how impactive our show was in getting the internet safety message across. On speaking to the children and visiting other schools to discuss this play I have been continually impressed with their feedback and interpretation of the play.”
Sarah Gatford, the producer of the show, said: “It has been wonderful to see the impact that the performances have had. The format of visual theatre we decided to use has proved extremely successful with the safer internet message getting across very clearly, this can be seen in the detail the pupils have included in their designs.
“Huge thanks to the competition entrants, our funders and the whole creative team with special mention to Colin Thomson from Deaf CAMHS, without whom this project would not have become reality.
“We heard last week we have been successful in an Arts Council funding bid which will allow us to take the project further, which is a great endorsement for our work.”
For more information about the performances contact the Mackworth Safer Neighbourhood Team on 101, send them a message online by visiting the Contact Us section of our website here or contact Sarah Gatford firstname.lastname@example.org
Pictured at the presentation with the PCC are (L-R)
Lydia Green (ten), Joseph Rowland (ten), Amelie Searson (ten), Hardyal, Savana Beresford (ten), Wesley Marchant (11), Elle Taylor (nine) and Tim Butler (nine), who is holding Kyle’s Brayne’s entry as Kyle was not able to attend the presentation.
Posted on Friday 24th June 2016