SCHOOL pupils have been involved in planning and naming a new room at Ashton Police Station to help children feel at ease.
The Sapphire Room is a safe space for young people affected by child sexual exploitation to work with police officers and support workers.
The room has been decorated and furnished to be welcoming and comfortable for children and young people and includes books, games and crafts to help them to relax.
Pupils at Poplar St Primary School, Audenshaw, took part in a competition to name the room as part of a session run by the It’s Not Okay team. The It’s Not Okay campaign is a Greater Manchester wide project – involving Tameside Council, police, health, charities and other local authorities - to tackle child sexual exploitation.
Y4 pupil Saffron Lawson came up with the winning name for the room and was visited at the school by the It’s Not Okay team and the Police Mounted Unit on Thursday 20 July to be presented with a certificate and prize.
PCSO Lesley Edwards, from the It’s Not Okay Tameside team, said: “We thought The Sapphire Room was a fantastic name – it feels bright and positive and has no negative connotations and it’s great that the children have been involved in coming up with ideas.
“The room is already having a positive impact with the young people we work with and helping to break down barriers. Attending a Police Station can be a traumatic experience for any young person, it is important to us to make this experience as stress free as possible. Evidence from our support workers and detectives shows young people will disclose more information when in a comfortable environment.”
Here are some comments from young people who have already visited the Sapphire Room: “Amazing” “Nice & Comfortable” “Nice Vibe” “Better than a Youth centre or Interview room”.
The It’s Not Okay team have received support from The High Sheriffs Trust and Embrace Child Victims of Crime among the many donations to help create the Sapphire Room.
The Mounted Unit, who work with the team to help build relationships with young people, attended the presentation at Poplar St Primary and offered the school a chance to “Adopt a Police Horse”, which includes a welcome pack and regular updates about their horse.
For further information, guidance and support on child sexual exploitation see www.itsnotokay.co.uk
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