An arts education charity has started working in four Croydon schools to help promote healthy relationships and prevent youth violence and domestic abuse.
Tender is running a two-year pilot project at St. Mary’s Catholic High School, Forestdale Primary School, Kingsley Primary Academy and Broadmead Primary Academy.
Two workers from Tender will be in the schools weekly, engaging with year groups from 6-11, whether this be a whole-class drama workshop, more targeted group work, or developing school-wide campaigns that address violence-condoning attitudes.
The project champions the aims of the council’s Choose Your Future campaign – to unite Croydon against serious youth violence and support young people to make positive choices.
Children and young people will be encouraged to explore sensitive issues, such as domestic abuse in teenage relationships, violence against women and girls, serious youth violence and peer-on-peer-abuse.
The charity will be working with many people to achieve this, from young people, to teaching staff, governors, parents, wider community partners and stakeholders. This will help develop what is known as a ‘whole school’ approach to preventing violence.
Councillor Hamida Ali, cabinet member for safer Croydon and communities
“MOPAC’s investment in these schools is really positive because it supports our ‘public health’ approach to preventing violence by giving us the opportunity to intervene earlier in the lives of some of our most vulnerable children, as well as those potentially at risk of perpetrating violence.
“The aim is to create long-term sustainable change that prevents violence and abuse in the young people’s future relationships. Also to give school staff the skills that enable them to feel confident and comfortable when speaking to students about these challenging issues.”
The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) is funding the project in Croydon as the borough has London’s largest youth population.
The charity has been using the arts to encourage young people to develop happy, healthy relationships since 2003. It has reached schools in every London borough and 10 regions across the UK and Ireland.
Following Tender workshops 94% of secondary school participants stated they have more understanding of healthy and unhealthy relationships. Meanwhile 85% of primary-aged children could identify at least one ‘red flag’ early warning sign of an unhealthy relationship.
The project will also aim to increase the school community’s knowledge of support services such as Bromley & Croydon’s Women’s Aid and Safer London, who work with young people who may be at risk of entering unhealthy relationships.