Police and Crime Commissioner invests in ‘power of arts and creativity’ to help keep children safe

Police and Crime Commissioner Donna Jones is investing in a new trauma-informed approach aimed at reducing the number of young people affected by crime and exploitation.
Police and crime commissioner Donna Jones. Picture: David GeorgePolice and crime commissioner Donna Jones. Picture: David George
Police and crime commissioner Donna Jones. Picture: David George

The drama scheme being run by Artswork, in partnership with Eastleigh-based BearFace Theatre, is aimed at young people aged 10-12 and will take place in schools across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight over the next two years.It’s been commissioned at a cost of just over £286,000 by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Violence Reduction Unit which brings together local partners in policing, education, health and local government.So far, 27 schools covering 201 staff and 1,216 children have signed up to register their interest in the programme which uses drama techniques to ‘rehearse’ challenging situations. A further 29 schools have registered an interest.

Six schools will be starting the programme next month following a pilot which took place at New Horizons Primary School in Portsmouth.The sessions will explore the risks and impact of knife crime and other violence, empowering school children to make informed decisions about situations they may find themselves in.

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PCC Donna Jones said: “My top priority as the Police Commissioner is keeping families and communities safe.

"Young people desperately need outlets that help them to learn how to make positive choices in difficult and challenging situations that could otherwise lead to violence, knife crime and exploitation.

“This initiative advocates early intervention and is a fresh and exciting approach that harnesses the creativity of drama techniques to help shape young lives for the better.”New Horizons Primary School Behaviour Support Officer Graham Snookes remarked: ““Both the staff training and the children’s workshops were really successful.

"This programme fits well into our values and the direction we’re already going in, so we’re looking forward to implementing this in our PSHE (personal, social, health and economic) lessons.”

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Artswork Chief Executive, Louise Govier, added: “We believe in the power of arts and creativity to shape happier and healthier children and young people.

"We’re delighted to be bringing this innovative new programme to schools in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, using drama techniques to empower the young people involved to make informed choices.“If you’ve explored different options and their possible consequences and rehearsed making positive choices within the safe environment of a supportive creative session, you develop experience that can help you in real life situations.”

For more information, email [email protected].