Battling online bullies in Craven

First published in News

A project to help keep Craven children safe from online exploitation and bullying is to receive £20,000 funding.

Hand in Hand, based in Keighley, will use the money to carry out an education and prevention programme in Craven aimed at teaching children how to keep safe.

Its protective behaviours policy for primary schools will focus on year six pupils about to move onto secondary schools and will cover safe and unsafe relationships and also provide information on support networks.

The pilot project will target more than 1,000 children in mainstream schools and around 50 in children’s homes and pupil referral units, and if successful will be rolled out across the rest of North Yorkshire.

Skipton Rugby Club will also receive just under £5,000 to help tackle anti-social behaviour and improve the life skills of disenfranchised young people.

Its street rugby project will target 11 to 16-year-olds in four areas of the town previously identified by police as suffering relatively high levels of anti-social behaviour.

Training will take place over eight weeks in the summer and will finish with a festival of rugby at the club’s home, Sandylands.

The club will also carry out a programme aimed at engaging 16 to 24-year-olds, living on the town’s Greatwood and Horse Close estates and without a job or in training.

Both projects have been funded by the area’s police and crime commissioner’s community fund, launched just a year ago.

“Online grooming and bullying is a great concern to most parents, many of who feel that they don’t know enough about the issue to protect their children,” said police and crime commissioner Julia Mulligan.

“Hand in Hand arms children with the knowledge and resources needed to keep themselves safe and to recognise unsafe situations online.”

She also hopes young people taking part in the rugby club programme will acquire greater levels of self-esteem and want to carry on with the club.

“Sport has an established record in turning young people’s lives around, giving them something positive and productive to focus on and installing an aspiration to achieve and succeed,” said Mrs Mulligan.

The community fund has given out £237,000 since its launch last year.

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