Uttlesford pupils learn life skills at Crucial Crew event

Hundreds of children from across Uttlesford learned more about the importance of recognising the early warning signs of exploitation and the harm it can bring, as part of a long-running educational initiative.

The Crucial Crew programme, which has been running for 27 years and is organised by the Uttlesford Community Safety Partnership, aims to educate and empower young people on making informed choices and to take ownership of their actions. It is targeted at Year 6 children (10 and 11 year olds) to help them deal with the transition of moving from primary to secondary school.

This year, the programme was led by Tic Box Productions who performed an original production, entitled Lines, which centred on the fictional character PJ, an 11-year-old who has been groomed and exploited by a gang. This was followed by an interactive workshop about the warning signs of an exploitative relationship, including how to go about seeking help.

The production was held virtually on 23 May, and then followed by live performances at Saffron Walden Town Hall and Foakes Hall in Great Dunmow.

In all, the event reached more than 800 young people from schools across the district.

Speaking on behalf of the partnership, Cllr Maggie Sutton, Uttlesford District Council's Portfolio Holder for Communities, Health, Youth and Public Safety, said: "We want young people to feel ready for the challenges that they may start to face and the aim of Crucial Crew is to highlight serious and topical messages about safety in an interactive and engaging way.

"We have received some very positive feedback from the schools involved, and I would like to thank Tick Box for a hard-hitting and hugely beneficial production that really got the children thinking about these serious issues."

For more information about the work of the Uttlesford CSP, visit www.uttlesford.gov.uk/csp.

10 June 2022