The last few months have been challenging for everyone. Officers from the Southwark Schools and Youth portfolio were looking to engage with the local communities in their own environments. However, due to COVID-19 this was put on hold.
A new program was designed at short notice making sure the needs of local youths were met.
PC Tom Smith, who put the summer program in place, said: “We were determined to carry out our summer engagement so long as it was safe and we were confident that all the extra measures and our awareness of current regulations were met, linking in with the organisers and taking into consideration their needs were key for us to engage.
“This year more than ever, young people need a safe space to get active, socialise with new people and see police in a different light.
“The program aims to give young people who would not necessarily have the chance to interact with police the opportunity to do so, while also helping them to keep fit, active and be supported during the summer months – this includes helping with homework, food banks and anything else we can support them with.”
Katie Worthington, from Westminster House Youth Club, said: “This summer we have had to adapt delivery significantly, remaining on site every day, having small bubbles of young people and short sessions in order to comply with government guidelines. Our membership is drawn from over 30 schools, so getting the opportunity to work with members of Southwark’s Safer Schools Team has been very beneficial.
“The programs are run all year round. Officers engage with hundreds of different youths across the borough, which all helps to forge relationships between the schools during term time and link in with the schools officers and neighborhood officers. It helps to make people aware of the excellent facilities the borough provides as some of these clubs receive little funding and people aren’t even aware of their existence.”