Local charity SAFE@LAST received a visit from the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings to hand over a cheque for £22,813.
Dr Billings visited the charity’s offices in Dinnington, Rotherham to discuss issues surrounding the work they do with vulnerable young people at risk through running away across the county.
The Commissioner met with SAFE@LAST Director of Children and Young Peoples Services Tracy Haycox and Director of Operations and Retail Mark Smith along with other members of the team to discuss how they will use the funding towards providing ongoing one to one support to young people who have run away from home. The support provided helps young people to address the issues that led them to run away which can include neglect, physical abuse, self-harming, conflict and violence at home, sexual exploitation and mental health problems.
The project aims to reduce young people repeatedly running away and therefore reduce the risky choices associated with running away such as taking drugs, abusing alcohol, having unsafe sex, sleeping rough and becoming victims or perpetrators of crime.
Dr Billings said: “SAFE@LAST offer an excellent service across South Yorkshire. They provide valuable support to the county’s vulnerable young people.
“The charity works with young people at risk of running away and helps divert them from situations that could put them at greater risk. This funding will go a long way to providing further help and support to those that need it.”
SAFE@LAST’s Director of Children and Young People’s Services Tracy Haycox said: “We’re delighted to receive funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner towards our work with young people in South Yorkshire.
“This project provides ongoing support from a specialist Project Worker which is essential after a young person has run away to reduce repeat running and risky behaviours. It costs £85,000 to deliver this project across South Yorkshire each year so the Police and Crime Commissioners funding will help us continue this work for another year.”
“SAFE@LAST works very closely with South Yorkshire Police to keep children safe and there is a clear financial benefit for Police forces to proactively engage in projects that reduce repeat running. In 2012/2013 Police forces across England, Scotland and Wales responded to around 306,000 cases of missing people – meaning some one was recorded missing every two seconds. With Portsmouth University calculating that each call costs the police an average of £1,325 reducing repeat running can have a massive financial impact. However, the most important priority for everyone must always be to protect children.”
In addition to the one to one work provided to young people, SAFE@LAST also runs a 24-hour Helpline, Preventative education programme and provides Family Support.
For more information on SAFE@LAST please see http://www.safeatlast.org.uk