The South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner’s campaign to engage with young people is back in schools this month.

YOYO – which stands for You’re Only Young Once – is an early intervention programme delivered in classrooms across secondary schools in South Yorkshire.  Aimed at year nine students, YOYO offers pupils the opportunity to learn how to produce podcasts, radio advertisements and videos on important issues such as violent crime and child sexual exploitation.

During phase two of the programme YOYO will visit six schools across Barnlsey, Doncaster and Sheffield.  Rotherham received workshops as part of phase one when Brinsworth Academy and Wales High Schools produced audios on guns, gangs and knives and child sexual exploitation that were aired as awareness raising radio advertisements on Hallam FM as part of the campaign.

On Friday, 30 September pupils in King Edwards Vll Lower School produced videos for the YOYO website explaining the dangers of child sexual exploitation and how to spot the signs.

Alan Carter, an Independent Member of the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel attended the workshop to see for himself how the young people are researching the information needed to produce the videos.

He said: “It was a brilliant session and I felt privileged to see the pupils’ enthusiasm for participating. I learned a lot about the YOYO programme at first hand and hope to see its important messages rolled out to many more schools right across South Yorkshire.”

XP School students in Doncaster researched gun, gang and knife crime for their podcasts.  They took part in lively discussions, where they exchanged information on their current knowledge of the subject, before researching further with the help of the Bauer Academy tutors, who deliver the sessions on behalf of the Commissioner.

Councillor David Nevett, also a member of the police and crime panel said: “It was really interesting to see the interaction between the students who were interested, engaged and supported in producing podcasts and short videos to raise awareness about the YOYO issues.

“To see the students gaining new skills and actively bouncing ideas off each other and thinking of novel suggestions to highlight the issues surrounding gangs, guns and knives. “They were hoping to raise the understanding of peer pressure with their age group encouraging them to say no to all these poor life choices and to tackle the issues head on”.

Each workshop is approximately five hours in length and is made engaging and fun by the use of digital and social media.  Pupils take part in filming boomerangs and Instagram stories to encourage them to follow the Instagram account.  This means that future key messages recorded or filmed by other pupils in schools across South Yorkshire will reiterate the key safety advice.

The best content produced is entered into new radio commercials and aired on Hallam FM with the catchy sweeper YOYO….You’re Only Young Once.

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner said: “YOYO is designed to offer early intervention and engage with young people in an exciting way that is different from  normal lessons.

“By using digital and social media, we can gather more young followers to the social media platforms and continue to deliver these videos and podcasts direct to their smart phones and tablets daily.

“Each engagement on social media is another step forward in raising the awareness of the dangers of joining gangs or carrying a knife and making more people aware of how to spot the signs of child sexual exploitation.

“I am pleased with how YOYO is progressing very quickly and more young people are sharing the content produced in lessons.”

All of the videos and podcasts produced can be found on the YOYO website www.yoyosyorks.co.uk, the YouTube channel or follow on Instagram to receive daily photos or videos.