An interactive child safety centre which uses mini ‘film sets’ to highlight everyday dangers and risks has developed a new cyber safety session thanks to cash seized from criminals.
Dangerpoint will be welcoming 250 children aged five to 11 and vulnerable adults from across North Wales to its Talacre-based centre for fun educational workshops which increase their safety awareness by placing them at the centre of real-life scenarios.
The new workshops will allow participants to explore all of the centre’s interactive ‘zones’ including safety in the home, fire safety and road safety, with a special focus on staying safe online.
They have had a helping hand with a grant of £4,875 from the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner’s Your Community, Your Choice fund helping to make the experience as inclusive as possible and removing any barriers faced by schools including cost and transport issues.
The initiative, also supported by the North Wales Police and Community Trust (PACT) and North Wales Police, is in its ninth year.
More than £400,000 has been handed out to deserving causes in that time and much of it has been recovered through the Proceeds of Crime Act, using cash seized from offenders with the rest coming from Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin.
Cat Harvey-Aldcroft, Dangerpoint’s Deputy Manager, said: “Our grants are really important to us. We are a charity and we rely on funding grants to remove the barrier some schools face.
“Nowadays, with the cost of living crisis and rising household costs, school trips are more of a luxury but we believe provision like this is essential.
“This grant includes provision for transport costs. It’s essential we can remove the barriers so we can guarantee children across North Wales can access this provision.”
The workshops will predominantly help children at Key Stage Two to understand how to keep themselves and other people safe on roads in the centre’s interactive street setting complete with working traffic lights and a pelican crossing.
Participants will also learn about hate crime including how to report it and different types of antisocial behaviour and how it impacts communities.
The project will pay special attention to online abuse, scams and the risk of fraudulent behaviour to children and vulnerable people with the help of an interactive avatar called K-os who can respond in ‘real time’ to questions raised by children about new apps or current social media platforms such as Tik Tok and Instagram.
Cat added: “Our aim is to raise awareness of essential life skills and equip people with the skills they can use in everyday situations. The centre allows them to put these skills into practice to keep themselves and other people safe.
“We cover all areas from home and fire safety through to road safety. We look at knife crime, internet safety and cyber bullying. The cyber safety learning will help to ensure they are not giving out personal details, not giving out passwords online and if they find themselves in a chatroom, that they keep their personal details safe.
“We do a lot of work with vulnerable adults and those with additional needs. This is an amazing centre for them, especially those who are moving towards independent living as it gives them hands-on experience in a real-life kitchen.”
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin said: “I am delighted that my Your Community Your Choice fund continues to support community projects across North Wales.
“This unique fund is demonstration of people power in action because it allows our communities to decide which projects should get financial support through our on-line voting system.
“There is an element of poetic justice in using money obtained through crime to address the problem of crime in our communities.
“It’s turning bad money into good and it’s making a real difference because it is local people who recognise and understand their local issues and how to solve them.
“This is a really positive aspect of the scheme and it helps bring us closer to those communities.”
Assistant Chief Constable Chris Allsop said: “I get particular satisfaction that part of the funding comes from the proceeds of crime, so that money is taken out of the pockets of criminals and their ill-gotten gains by the courts and is put back into community initiatives.
“Policing is part of the community and the community is part of policing and this scheme is a positive way of building trust in policing.
“It’s great to see those relationships flourish because without the community we won’t know what’s going on, without the community we won’t get vital intelligence, and we won’t solve crimes.”
PACT chair Ashley Rogers said: “These awards are important because they support community projects right across North Wales and it’s the communities themselves that decide where the money can best be spent.
“A lot of what we fund is aimed at providing something for young people to get involved with in their spare time, activities that can help to build skills and positive physical and mental health.
“We want to support communities so they are able to take responsibility for their own areas.
“Community groups and projects can do a great deal to make communities safer, reduce crime and reduce re-offending, it also sends a good message to the communities because it shows we are listening to them.
“The aim is to build up resilience in communities across North Wales to help vulnerable people and combat things like County Lines.”
For more information on Dangerpoint visit: https://dangerpoint.org.uk/ and for more information on the work of the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner go to https://www.northwales-pcc.gov.uk/en/home.aspx and for more on the North Wales Police and Community Trust go to https://www.pactnorthwales.co.uk/