Community organisations working to reduce violent crime in Essex shared their projects at the conference.
At the ‘Delivering through Partnerships’ event, delegates had an opportunity to learn more about charities and other organisations offering intervention and support services around the county.
Exhibitors were able to discuss their work with those who attended the conference to see where there could be more partnership working against gangs and violent crime.
Stands set up around the room included those by Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, Victim Support, Essex Youth Service, Children’s Society, Open Road, Essex PFCC’s own Restorative Justice & Mediation Service and the Local Policing Support Unit.
Sarah Conlon, operation manager for SOS Domestic Abuse Project, hosted a stand raising awareness of the newly launched Compass project, a 24-hour domestic abuse helpline.
Launched in April, Compass enables victims to access information, advice, guidance and, where appropriate, assessment and access to specialist services.
Sarah said: “The phones have not stopped ringing since 9am on our launch day. Because there is an anonymity to the phone line, we are finding people who have been in domestic situations for ten-plus years are making contact. We are offering just a different way of accessing the support.”
It was hoped the conference would bring forward more volunteers to help man the service.
Only Cowards Carry weapons awareness was launched by Caroline Shearer in memory of her 17-year-old son Jay Whiston who was fatally stabbed in 2012.
The weapons awareness workshops are taken into schools and also touch on alcohol and drug misuse and gang culture.
Tania Swanson, training and development manager, said: “Knife crime is very much in the fore at the moment. We try to educate young people on the laws, dangers and consequences of carrying knives. “We deliver workshops around weapon awareness in schools as we want to educate as many kids as we can.
“Our workshops are very graphic; we have a real heart with a knife wound in it that we show to young people. That’s when they sit up and take notice.
“The conference has been a brilliant way for us to make lots of connections.”
Peter Brooks, charity engagement manager at Centre Supporting Voluntary Action in Chelmsford, exhibited as part of the Essex Council for Voluntary Service (ECVS) Network. The ECVS is an association of district based support and development agencies providing help and services to frontline voluntary and community organisations.
Peter said: “This is a great opportunity for networking and seeing what is going on at a strategic level. It’s a chance to promote the work we are doing collaboratively as we support most of the organisations here with volunteering, advice or networking. It’s a way of making sure we are reaching the people we need to and making people aware they can approach us.”
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