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Vera Baird presents safety course awards

19th February 2016

Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird has commended members from Arts 4 Wellbeing who have successfully completed a safety course and presented the candidates with their certificates at a ceremony yesterday.

Arts 4 Wellbeing provides support to people with disabilities in South Tyneside and over the past three days members of the group have been taking part in a modular training package developed to address what makes people with disabilities vulnerable in the community – and how these vulnerabilities can be overcome.  The course took place at Safetyworks! In Newcastle’s West End but involved people from South Shields.

The course was devised by Northumbria Police in conjunction with Arts 4 Wellbeing to address a range of topics specific to those on the course.

Members learnt about hate crime – what it is and how to report it, and the support that is available to victims. Important issues such as online safety, how to contact the emergency services, anti-social behaviour, crime prevention advice and personal safety were also covered.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service provided an input around fire safety while British Transport Police talked about travel safety and how to keep safe on public transport.

St John’s Ambulance also gave first aid training.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird, said: “It was great to present certificates to the members of Arts 4 Wellbeing who have completed this course. I hope they leave today feeling a sense of achievement and that they have some new knowledge about risks that are around. They can feel confident now that they have met people from the police, fire and public transport services that if they ever need help when they are out, they know how to ask for it and they will get a friendly and supportive response. I hope too that they have enjoyed visiting SafetyWorks! Which is a great example of collaborative working across Northumbria  which is currently broadening its educational remit.

Southern Area Command T/Superintendent Sarah Pitt said: “It’s really important that we ensure those who could potentially be the most vulnerable in our communities are equipped with the right knowledge and advice to help keep themselves safe.

“Our community engagement officers have worked very closely with Arts 4 Wellbeing to develop a course that addresses the particular vulnerabilities that people with learning disabilities face and how they can overcome these.

“This work is part of our ongoing commitment to protecting those who are most vulnerable and we will continue to work with all areas of the community to minimise harm. SafetyWorks! is going from strength to strength and thanks to funding secured by Vera Baird from the Home Office there is some excellent work in the pipeline aiming to help young people protect themselves from other 21st century threats such as online grooming and child sexual exploitation.”

Arts 4 Wellbeing is an organisation that works with people with mental health needs, physical disabilities and learning disabilities in South Tyneside. The charity’s work has an enormous impact on the day to day lives of its members and is an important factor in helping people reengage back into society which reduces isolation and enables them to gain confidence, self esteem, social skills and reduces the chances of discrimination.