Vulnerable young people in Bedford will receive a greater level support against sexual exploitation after Richmond Fellowship’s partner organisation CAN received a £100,000 grant to help combat the problem.
CAN, the charity organisation supporting people who’ve experienced problems with drugs, alcohol or homelessness, operates services for young people across Bedfordshire as part of the national Richmond Fellowship group, a partnership of mental health and substance misuse charities.
The grant, provided by The Harpur Trust, will help CAN enhance the work they do with young people between the ages of 12 and 18 who’re at risk of child sexual exploitation (CSE).
Mel Lowe, manager of CAN’s Young People Service, said: “The young people we work with need a service that allows them to confront the problems they have, be they at home, in education or in their social life.
“Child Sexual Exploitation is a problem that has come to prominence following several much-publicised cases nationwide. We want to ensure that any young person at risk gets the best support possible.
“This work will help build stronger families and communities in Bedford and would not be possible without the generous support we have received from The Harpur Trust”.
An inquiry set up by the Children’s Commissioner for England in 2013 found that 2,409 children were known to be victims of CSE and identified a further 16,500 children and young people as being at risk. However, it is widely accepted that the true figure is even higher.
Lucy Bardner, grants manager for The Harpur Trust, said: “The Trust is pleased to support CAN in their work tackling very complex issues affecting our most vulnerable young people.
“We hope that over the course of this grant we will all learn much more about CSE in Bedford and the most effective ways of building resilience in young people so that they don’t fall victim to this disturbing crime.”