Social Enterprise Day 2012 – A morning with Cynon Valley Crime Prevention
Earlier today, Catherine Evans, Wales Co-operative Centre Marketing Manager, accompanied Cynon Valley Crime Prevention social enterprise on a school visit and presentation. Here’s her story…
I’m just back from spending a morning with Cynon Valley Crime Prevention Association, to celebrate Social Enterprise Day. Since my usual day involves sitting in meetings and battling with my email in-box, it was really great to get out and watch a social enterprise at work.
Cynon Valley Crime Prevention Association is a Charity organisation that is currently in its 25th year. It’s involved in local community work and it also works in collaboration with the Community Safety Partnership (RCT), South Wales Police and Domestic Violence charities to provide a safer place for the people of the Cynon Valley and surrounding areas to live in.
The organisation is partly funded through its social enterprise arm, Cynon Valley Crime Reduction Services Limited, which is now in its 9th year of trading. This was set up to support the charity side with sustainable funding, by providing security services across the country. These include fitting of security products like intruder alarm Systems, CCTV, and UPVC Locking Systems.
This morning I’ve been with Eleanor Jones and Brett Lagdon at Ysgol Hen Felin in Ystrad, Rhondda. Also present is Police Community Support Officer Cherylin Pryor.
Eleanor is the manager of CVCPA’s PUPIL Scheme (Pupils Understanding Problems in Their Locality). The scheme started in the Cynon Valley, but when it was noticed that youth offending was significantly lower in the Cynon that it was in neighbouring valleys, the scheme was rolled out. It is now, with funding from the European Social Fund, delivered in schools across six counties in South Wales; Rhondda Cynon Taf, Merthyr Tydfil, Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend and Torfaen. The scheme is supported by South Wales and Gwent Police Forces.
The scheme aims to engage young people with the community around them and give them a better understanding of their own responsibilities within a community, while at the same time giving them an opportunity to develop through participation. The scheme includes weekly sessions in schools, an annual residential course, a celebration event and the opportunity for pupils to gain an OCN accredited ‘Step Up’ qualification. What’s also good to see is that it is delivered in both mainstream and special schools and in pupil referral units.
The session this morning was delivered by Brett to pupils in their final year at Ysgol Hen Felin. These are young people with moderate, severe and multiple learning difficulties. This morning, a group of nine students were discussing respect and responsibility. It’s an important theme because these young people struggle more than most to gain the respect of their peers and their community, an issue which soon emerges from the discussion. They quickly grasp the need to respect others regardless of their appearance or ability. They are equally fast to appreciate the importance of taking responsibility for things, whether it’s getting themselves ready for school, looking after a family pet or recycling. By the end of the session, the idea that respecting other people and taking responsibility for yourself and your environment can make a better community, has been recognised.
I was really impressed by how focused the youngsters were. They listened to Brett and Eleanor and were keen to contribute ideas to the discussion. The session helped raise their awareness of community issues in their area and it also encouraged them to express themselves and build self esteem through participation and interaction with each other and the adults present.
Cynon Valley Crime Prevention is a fantastic organisation and it was great to see the work that its doing with young people at first hand.