Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner has provided funding for a project in Chester which aims to make children’s journey home from school safer.
St Werburgh’s and St Columba’s Primary School and Upton High School have identified a need for ‘safe places’ in the community where children walking home alone can seek support if they feel unsafe.
The schools are going to work with local shops to provide safe spaces for young people being followed or bullied on their way home from school.
The funding from the police and crime commissioner will provide promotional material that the shops will display in their windows so they are easily identifiable as safe places.
PCC David Keane said: “It’s important that children stay safe on their walk home from school and have a safe place from bullies or strangers.
“The project will work along the lines of the neighbourhood watch scheme, with local shops displaying a safe base symbol for children who find themselves in trouble or at risk.
“It will act as a deterrent for perpetrators in the area if they know children are aware of ‘stranger danger’ and know what to do if they are approached.”
Kerry Prendergast, safeguarding lead at St Werburgh’s and St Columba’s Primary School, added: “I am aware of parents’ worries and concerns surrounding allowing their children to walk home alone especially once they reach upper juniors and high school age.
“There have been some cases where children have been approached by strangers so we want to do all we can to provide a safe space where they can seek support if they feel like they are being followed or targeted.
“We’re thankful for the funding from PCC David Keane to make the Safe School Hoole and Upton project happen and to make the journey to and from school safer for hundreds of pupils.”
Safe School Hoole and Upton is one of 22 projects across Cheshire which has recently received Safer Communities Funding to support crime prevention or meet the objectives within the commissioner’s police and crime plan.
To find out more about the Safer Communities Fund, please visit https://www.cheshire-pcc.gov.uk/what-im-doing/safer-communities-fund/