Words from a Youth Engagement Lead

At the beginning of the year, Eski appointed Kelly Wilson in a new role of Youth Engagement Lead. Kelly’s energy, expertise and experience gives a new dimension to the way we created educational resources and interacted with academies.

Working part-time at Eski, along with being a drama teacher, Kelly has grown to become an integral part of the team lending knowledge, ideas, and creative flair to many of our campaigns.

A key part of her role is in creating opportunities and providing interactive sessions around the topic of grooming and child exploitation, through Not In Our Community funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Humberside.

A few months in, Kelly reflects on her experiences of combining media and education around such a sensitive subject.

“Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) and Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) how much do you really know what is going on in your community?

As a teacher of secondary students for almost twenty years and having the type of childhood which led me to understanding the subculture of housing estates, I figured I pretty much knew what was happening. I have had a lot of training as all teachers have I thought I knew. I guess I did know more than most, but is that enough?

In January, I landed myself my dream job, which enabled me to continue teaching but also working part time with a media company with the tag line of ‘Creating Social Good’. I have worked with this company before, inspired by their films and ethos and so I was all in.

I soon realised I didn’t know as much as I thought I did, I watched the films, I researched, and I learnt a lot more but like all things educational the process is not linear and is never ‘done’.

Kids are creative and resourceful when given the opportunity, so our delivery, often supported by a representative from Humberside Police is interactive and gives young people the chance to explore issues and ideas in their own way.

We ask for feedback, which knowing that kids can be harsh, especially with anonymous evaluation, is a bit nerve-wracking however I’m very pleased to say that having presented to almost 2,000 young people they are enjoying the sessions and feel it is a good way to help them and their friends protect against grooming and exploitation.

The media Eski has created is always rated as the “best bit”, especially the interactive films such as Ryan’s story and Chloe’s story.

I think it’s important we educate kids on the dangers of in person grooming as well as online, that we lose the image of the dodgy bloke online trying to speak to young girls (this does happen, but grooming has evolved faster than us parents who think we know).

I want to continue raising awareness in schools but also to parent groups, to professionals and so everyone can see just how organised, ruthless and dangerous these gangs are. It is no longer just the one dodgy person getting a few kids involved it’s widespread and organised, it’s the exploitation of our children in a way we have not seen before and for once the internet is not completely to blame. 

It plays its part, but the risk is just as great for the kids on the park talking to a kid whose the same age. A groomed child could then become the groomer replicating what they have learnt.

The extent of the emotional and physical fear an exploited child experiences knows no bounds and the loyalty to the groomer is complex. I look forward to getting into more schools during the Autumn and expanding beyond schools.

Eski are an amazing company with their finger on the pulse and a rich talent pool. I am proud to be a part of this team. Now my own CPD to grasp the spreadsheet and develop a better sense of direction (geographical direction) either that or I’m off to buy a decent Sat Nav! I also have to thank the police as working with them in schools gives students the opportunity to ask questions as well as strengthen the early intervention work they passionately carry out.

Please check out the Not In Our Community resources which are free for people to view and use. If you think your Guides group or students / staff could benefit, contact us. We can be found on Facebook / Instagram / YouTube and of course at www.notinourcommunity.org

Thank you, Kelly. What you do is not easy, and we couldn’t support young people in this way without you.

Leave a Comment.

© All rights reserved.