What can we do to keep our children safe?
A MUM from Lyde Green is taking action after her daughter was the victim of an anti-social behaviour incident.
Ursula Shepherd has lived in Lyde Green for nearly two years with her two daughters aged 14 and 12. She works full time in child protection, and runs her own business called Child Protection Academy. Following one of her daughters experiencing an incident of anti-social behaviour earlier this year, she decided to speak out.
Ursula said: “My daughter went to the park in Lyde Green to meet a friend during February half term, and there was a mixture of teenage girls and boys there on bikes, making lots of noise. While my daughter was there, she heard some of the group talking about her and she started to feel uncomfortable. Her and her friend decided to leave, but unfortunately they were followed and she had water thrown at her.
“She came home and told me what happened, and I phoned 101 to get some advice. I was told to report the incident to the police, which I did. My daughter has been really traumatised by the situation and she doesn’t want to go to the park any more. After sharing the incident on the Lyde Green Local Facebook page, I received comments from neighbours regarding similar anti-social behaviour incidents in the area, and I decided that something needed to be done about it.”
After Ursula mentioned the incident on Facebook, Emersons Green town councillor Sadik Al-Hassan got in touch with her to say that he would raise the issue at the next council meeting, and Ursula agreed to go along and put her point across during a five-minute talk. During the meeting, councillors said that funding is being found to channel young people’s energy and keep them occupied through various activities such as boxing.
In addition, Ursula has also decided that once the new Lyde Green community centre is open that she would like to start running training sessions for parents and children on child protection and how to stay safe.
Speaking about her plans, she added: “I’m a child protection advocate and I think educating children and parents is an important thing to do. I have spoken to Lyde Green Community Association about running workshops once the community centre is open, so that parents have access to knowledge, and children have the power to protect themselves if they are put in similar situation to my daughter.
“I’m passionate about the issue and I am willing to try and make a difference and change things as I care about my community and the children that live here. No one should feel threatened where they live. It would be wonderful to have sense of community, and to have somewhere that other children can go to, as well as get the community together to let people know they are not alone and that we all support each other too.”
Commenting on the recent spate of incidents, Councillor Rachael Hunt said: “Anti-social behaviour is a big concern in Lyde Green and Emersons Green, and the town council wants to help residents in any way that we can.
“Things are moving in the right direction at the moment, and we are looking to increase activities for young people in the area as an ongoing solution to the problem.”
If you are interested in finding out more about courses and workshops that Child Protection Academy will run at Lyde Green community centre, contact Ursula by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07861 749033.