A new innovative, exciting schools campaign has today (21 June 2017) been launched by the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings at a school assembly in Outwood Academy Danum, Doncaster hosted by Hallam FM’s Home-Run presenter Simon Morykin.

The campaign entitled YOYO (You’re Only Young Once) funded by the PCC, is a new way of getting young people in South Yorkshire to consider for themselves the consequences of engaging in inappropriate or dangerous activities such as sexting, drinking alcohol or taking drugs – things they think are exciting.

Working with Bauer Academy and Hallam FM, tutors visit schools in South Yorkshire to provide training on how to write and produce podcasts, video and radio advertisements and how to conduct journalism interviews.  The young people research a particular topic and the academy provides them with up to five hours of lessons.

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner said: “This is a wholly new approach to engaging with young people.  Nobody wants to be told what they can and can’t do and especially young people wanting fun and excitement. But there are potential risks and dangers with certain activities. YOYO offers an attractive way for young people to explore these issues.

“YOYO is designed to allow pupils to research the subject and provide their own mini awareness campaigns to share with their friends and family.

“We have a website where all the finished articles are held and we encourage all young people in South Yorkshire to take a look and listen to what other students have done in each of the schools.”

The initiative started in March and has produced a number of podcasts, radio advertisements and journalism interviews from thirteen schools.  The website for the YOYO campaign is www.yoyosyorks.co.uk and there are a number of social media platforms that are shown on the website.  All of the products produced by the pupils are uploaded for them to see and share.

Bauer Academy Director Courtney McLeod said: “The Academy and Hallam FM are excited to be part of this ground breaking project.  Media training is exciting and engaging for young people and importantly, it doesn’t feel like traditional learning.

“YOYO allows young people to learn a range of multimedia skills relevant to a variety of career paths, whilst also effectively changing attitudes and behaviours in a very natural way.

“By putting young people at the heart of developing content for other young people gives YOYO a credible, authentic voice which will engage, inform and inspire young people.”

YOYO is proving to be such a hit with the pupils and local organisations that additional funding from Doncaster Children’s Services Trust provided six sessions on domestic abuse in the Doncaster Area.

As YOYO progresses,  an even split of schools across the districts will have the opportunity to take part and any further funding will allow for more schools to get involved.

All of the products produced by the pupils will be judged and entered in to a celebratory awards ceremony to be held at the end of the campaign.  There is also the opportunity for some of the radio advertisements to be aired on Hallam FM as part of the relevant awareness campaigns.