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PFCC funding boost for youth film project

Posted on 29th September 2023


The knock-on effects of shoplifting are being highlighted by young filmmakers on Canvey.

A group of teenagers are working with The London Bus Theatre Company to produce a film called Nicked, focusing on the ramifications of – what they see as – a large amount of unreported shoplifting.

The London Bus Theatre Company provides drama workshops on issues such as bullying, drugs, alcohol and antisocial behaviour.

It also gives vulnerable young people on Canvey the opportunity to get involved in the creation of short films, sparking conversations around hard-hitting topics.

The latest project will see 12 to 17-year-olds work together to script, film, produce and even act in the film which will be shared across social media and in schools.

The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex (PFCC) has contributed £5,000 to London Bus Theatre Company in the form of a crime and disorder reduction grant from the 2022-2023 Community Safety Development Fund to support the work.

PFCC Roger Hirst said: “Without even realising it, these young people are having an impact on crime prevention in their county. Along the way, they are building personal qualities and professional skills which will help them in their own future. What a wonderful way for young people to spend their time – doing good for others while also developing new skills themselves.”

Kathy Austen, project manager, said: “The young people came up with the idea of looking at shoplifting as they say a lot of it goes on, but is unreported. Apparently, there is even a shoplifting trend on TikTok – with so-called shoplifting influencers!

“Shoplifting is a gateway into gang crime, so they want to show the ramifications of shoplifting, such as higher prices, traumatising shop workers, criminal records and being sucked into further crimes. It is a topic that nobody really does a lot about, so they want to get that message out there.

“For the young people involved in our projects, they come away feeling more confident from working with us and develop skills in communication, teamwork, decision-making and planning. They also make new friends which reduces isolation.”

The film will be shot with a professional crew at the end of the year.

Of the PFCC funding, Kathy said: “We could not do this work without the PFCC. They always help us and are supportive of young people’s ideas and we are very grateful for that.

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PFCC for Essex, Kelvedon Park, London Road, Rivenhall, Witham, Essex, CM8 3HB
01245 291600

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