Date21 June 2022
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin visited Ysgol Eirias in Colwyn Bay on 21 June to learn more about how funding seized from criminals is helping to fund a project that aims to make our young people safer on the roads. The PCC was there to witness a performance from the Denbigh Workshop on road safety that was delivered to young people at the school. The visit also enabled the PCC to learn more about the Denbigh Workshop’s activities, to meet the team and young people involved, and to see how the funding has been invested and how it engages students.
The Denbigh Workshop, a community arts charity which promotes personal and community development, education and positive change, received PACT Your Community, Your Choice funding of 5,000 to help fund its ‘It can happen to you’ project and deliver performance workshops in schools across Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham. The funding was secured prior to the pandemic, but it is only now that the Denbigh Workshop have been able to conduct in person performances following the pandemic. This month, in addition to Ysgol Eirias, they are visiting Ysgol John Bright, St David’s College, Ysgol Maes Garmon, and Ysgol Morgan Llwyd.
The Your Community, Your Choice initiative, also supported by the North Wales Police and Community Trust (PACT) and North Wales Police, is in its ninth year. During this time, more than £400,000 has been handed out to deserving causes and much of it has been recovered through the Proceeds of Crime Act, using money seized from offenders, with the rest coming from the Police and Crime Commissioner.
The Denbigh Workshop is based at the HWB in Denbigh and they work with a youth panel made up of seven young people aged from 10-17 years, from very different backgrounds, who were asked what should be done about young people losing their lives on the road. Their response was clear - hard hitting workshops in schools which really bring home the dangers of ignoring road safety and its effects on family life. The Denbigh Workshop wrote the original script in consultation with officers from North Wales Police highlighting the Fatal 5.
The interactive performance workshops are delivered by two experienced actor/facilitators and aimed at year 12/13 pupils. The sessions focus on the police officer who is first to arrive at the scene and the devastating impact the loss of a son has on a mother. The young people are often very moved by the piece they’ve just witnessed. They then help form a visual reminder of just how many lives are affected by an incident like this on the roads.
Andy Dunbobbin, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales commented: “Improving road safety is a key part of my plan as Police and Crime Commissioner and projects like ‘It can happen to you’ from the Denbigh Workshop are a hugely impactful way of sharing this message of safety with our young people. The Your Community, Your Choice fund is a great example of how money taken from wrongdoers can be used to do good right across North Wales, in schools or in the wider community. I hope that this powerful initiative from the Denbigh Workshop will help educate people and, hopefully, save lives in the process.”
Tracy Jones, Director, The Denbigh Workshop commented: “We have seen first-hand the effect that this project has had on our young people. They are deeply moved by the actors’ powerful portrayal of a grieving mother and police officer, seeing for themselves the devastating effect driving decisions can have and the wider implications for families. Chris’s performance in particular is very raw and can leave an audience speechless. If we can keep just one person safe on the roads and make them think twice before they answer a text or get distracted behind the wheel then that’s one more family saved from the devastating effect of a road traffic collision.”
“We aim to ensure that children and young people have a voice and give them the confidence and self-esteem to believe that their needs and wishes can be acted upon. We are looking forward to taking our message to schools across the area and are grateful for the support received from the Your Community, Your Choice fund.”
Sean Gavin, Head of 6th Form at Ysgol Eirias commented: “We are very grateful to the Denbigh Workshop for providing this performance to our 6th Form learners, many of whom are currently learning to drive or have recently passed their test. We aim to support all of our students in becoming active and responsible members of their community. This high impact performance will certainly give them food for thought in keeping themselves, their peers and their communities safe.”
Osian, a student at Ysgol Eirias, said: “The session was more intense than I expected, but it was very worthwhile. They had an important message to share and it came across really well.”
North Wales Police Assistant Chief Constable Chris Allsop said: “Part of the funding for the Your Community, Your Choice projectcomes from the proceeds of crime and it’s right that money is taken out of the pockets of criminals and put back into community initiatives like this one from the Denbigh Workshop.
“This helps turn bad money into good and makes a real difference because it is local people who recognise and understand their local issues and how to solve them. Policing is part of the community, and the community is part of policing, and schemes like Your Community, Your Choice are a positive way of building trust in policing.”
PACT Chair Ashley Rogers commented: “These funding awards are important because they support community projects right across North Wales, just like this one from the Denbigh Workshop, and it’s the communities themselves that decide where the money can best be spent. This project will take a hugely important message into schools and we hope that it will help keep our young people safer when they are out on the road.”
For more information on the work of the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner go to https://www.northwales-pcc.gov.uk/en/home.aspx and for more on the North Wales Police and Community Trust go to https://www.pactnorthwales.co.uk/