Shelley College pupils learn how to stay safe

Self defence project after idea sparked in The Examiner

Julie Tweedie (front) of Freedom Personal Safety, works with girls from Shelley College during one of her personal safety and self defence workshops held across all years of the school.

Girls at Shelley College have harnessed their inner strength to learn self defence moves.

And their new skills have been delivered partly thanks to The Examiner.

The Stay Safe sessions have come about after Slaithwaite-based personal safety instructor, Julie Tweedale read about Kirkburton Pc Sally Baines and her work to keep children safe in the Neighbourhood News section.

They got together and Sally explained the issues facing teenage girls in the Kirkburton and Denby Dale area.

Julie (pictured with pupils) came up with a programme she could deliver and between them they applied for a grant from the West Yorkshire Police Community Trust Fund.

They are now rolling out 14 workshops at Shelley College, Scissett Middle School and Kirkburton Middle School.

Girls are not only learning self defence techniques, they are also finding out about healthy and unhealthy relationships and issues such as sexting and child sexual exploitation.

Julie, who co-founded social enterprise Freedom Personal Safety said: “It is shocking to realise that up to 75% of teenage relationships have some elements of unhealthy behaviour – often young people believe that controlling behaviour, manipulation and threats are normal aspects of relationships.

“We want to give them the confidence to walk away from partners who want to harm or hurt them and we help them to understand that they have a right to feel safe.”

Ange Jackson, director of pastoral care at Shelley College, said: “Our students feel privileged to be given the opportunity to experience this workshop.

“The initial feedback from all involved was very positive, all the students had a great time joining in with the activities.

“Pastoral staff, PC Sally Baines and Karen George from the West Yorkshire Child Protection Unit took part in all of the workshops alongside our students.

“The college feels it is extremely important to equip the students with the best life skills and experiences to enable them to make informed and safe decisions.

“Although some aspects of the course highlight the grim reality of what ‘could be,’ the students felt confident to take part in all the physical activities and comfortable enough to join in with the discussions.”

For more information on the work of Freedom Personal Safety, visit <a href = 'www.freedompersonalsafety.co.uk'>www.freedompersonalsafety.co.uk</a>

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