Housing associations in Wales don’t just build homes. They work in partnerships with other organisations to make communities sustainable, safer and better to live in.
Ria Gibbs, Community Involvement Officer at Bron Afon, met with Crimestoppers earlier this year to discuss concerns over knife crime, child sexual exploitation (CSE) and criminal child exploitation (CCE).
Ria shares her story below:
“Rebecca is involved with the Crimestoppers-run charity, Fearless, which organises free workshops across Gwent for 11-16 year olds on a range of topics including knives and weapons, county lines, gangs and child criminal exploitation. Their aim is not only to educate young people but also to encourage them to speak out about crime and exploitation. Through fearless.org, young people can give information 100% anonymously.
We decided to join forces to help raise awareness of the dangers of knife crime in Torfaen. Having had a personal experience with knife crime myself and working as an involvement officer, I wanted to initiate a project that would not only raise awareness but would also support creating sustainable, healthy and safe communities.
Through the project, we have engaged with over 100+ young people from youth groups and schools across the borough. Working with Rebecca means we’ve been able to use her expertise and my local knowledge to go into secondary schools and projects such as Hales House in Pontypool and The Hwb in Blaenavon, to explain how knife crime is closer to their door than they might think.
Hitting home this reality to over one hundred young people has made a big impact. Young people have told us it’s convinced them to never carry a knife or get involved in knife crime because of the possible consequences – and that’s the outcome we wanted to achieve.
With my knowledge of the difficulties young people are facing in Torfaen and Rebecca’s expertise, we have been able to prioritise workshops for those who may be vulnerable and/or at risk.
Our prevention workshops aim to reduce the fear around knife crime and empower and educate them to be better informed and feel safer. We’ve been overwhelmed by the positive feedback we’ve had from young people, with 99% of those involved stating they would consider using Fearless to report a crime anonymously. We are hoping to continue our partnership working by giving young people themselves the opportunity to run sessions aimed at showing parents how to spot signs of controlled behaviour in their children.”
Anyone who wants further information about Fearless should go to fearless.org.
Partnership working has been an integral part of our work over the last 30 years. See our timeline below:
View the full timeline here (PDF).