BUSINESSES ASKED TO HELP SAVE POTENTIAL CHILD SEX VICTIMS / HAVE YOUR SAY ON IMPROVING THORNTON HEATH / CELEBRATING LONDON ROAD / CROYDON CALLS ON GOVERNMENT TO DEVOLVE WORK PROGRAMME
BUSINESSES ASKED TO HELP SAVE POTENTIAL CHILD SEX VICTIMS
BUSINESSES IN Southwark are being asked to take part in a new initiative aimed at helping identify potential victims of child sexual exploitation (CSE).
The initiative will look to encourage businesses such as hotels, licensed premises and taxi companies to help prevent cases occurring by training them to be more aware of any signs of exploitation.
It will also look to see what actions they can take if they do witness anything suspicious, including reporting any concerns to a dedicated hotline, which will be staffed by police call-handlers with specialist CSE training.
Examples of signs police will be advising businesses to look out for include:
Adults who appear secretive or are trying to hide the fact that they are with a young person
Adults befriending young people, including buying them food and drinks
Young people being picked up and taken to hotels, particularly at odd times of the day and night
Adults who frequently come into premises with different young people
Young people who, although with peers, look uncomfortable or under duress
Operation Makesafe, which is being launched by Southwark council and Southwark police, was developed from the pan London CSE awareness operation first launched in 2014.
It aims to deploy police officers to intervene before any harm occurs to the young person identified.
Southwark’s cabinet member for children and schools Cllr Victoria Mills said: “We are serious about tackling the issue of child sexual exploitation and this launch marks the start of our journey working with local businesses to make sure we are all being vigilant to the signs of potentially harming behaviour towards young people.
“Over the coming months, we will also be looking to increase awareness amongst parents, carers and communities in Southwark to learn more about the potential signs of exploitation and be extra vigilant of all young people in their care.”
Detective Chief Inspector Rob Harper, from Southwark police said: “We have been working closely with the council to ensure our officers speak to people who are able to assist in spotting the signs of CSE and report any suspicious activity to us as quickly as possible.
“It is often the case that a child or young person does not see themselves as a victim of sexual exploitation and therefore it is essential that those who notice anything suspicious speak to police at the earliest opportunity.
“We are keen to ensure that businesses across Southwark as well as our local community are able to recognise the warning signs of CSE and alert us. Getting local businesses on board will help to identify, protect and safeguard those young people who could potentially be at risk.”
Visit southwark.gov.uk/learnthesigns for more information. (Source: Southwark council press release)
HAVE YOUR SAY ON IMPROVING THORNTON HEATH
Residents and businesses in Thornton Heath are invited to have their say on how they would like to see £2.7 million spent on revitalising the area.
The council successfully bid for the funding through the Greater London Authority’s New Homes Bonus scheme, which will bring about a series of major high street improvements.
These include a combination of improvements to the public realm and to building and shop fronts, as well as support for new and existing businesses.
Members of the public can meet council officers and local councillors from 2.30pm to 4.30pm on Saturday, 28 March, at St Alban the Martyr Church Hall, Grange Road, Thornton Heath, CR9 8SR.
This also includes a high street walkabout.
The proposed project focuses on 1km of high street stretching from Thornton Heath Library to the Whitehorse Lane roundabout, encompassing the train station and leisure centre.
Work is scheduled to be completed by 2017/18.
Croydon’s deputy leader and cabinet member for homes and regeneration, Cllr Alison Butler said: “This funding will transform Thornton Heath, one of our major district centres.
“It demonstrates that we are committed to making regeneration happen borough-wide and not just in the town centre.
“We want to make sure residents and businesses in Thornton Heath are able to have their say as to how they would like to see these improvements delivered, and we’d be delighted to see them at the event on Saturday, 28 March.” (Source: Croydon council press release.)
CELEBRATING LONDON ROAD
After choosing a new brand for London Road, traders and residents are being invited to a celebration event for the area.
Taking place from 6pm to 8.30pm on Tuesday, 24 March, at Croydon Voluntary Action, the event aims to showcase London Road’s vibrant business community.
It is also an opportunity to celebrate the regeneration that is transforming the area into a greater place to live, work, socialise and do business.
Traders will be able to get tips on how to improve their businesses thanks to advisors from Retail Revival, who will be on hand to provide information.
This will include how to access free social media training and how to get details of your business or event posted onto the soon-to-be-launched London Road website, which traders will be able to get a first glimpse of.
Refreshments will be served throughout the evening.
.Croydon’s cabinet member for economic development Cllr Toni Letts said: “The exciting transformation of London Road really is a cause for celebration.
“There is currently a real sense of optimism among residents and traders about the changes that are taking place.
“Retail Revival is doing a great job working with businesses, and this event is another opportunity for traders to find out about the support that is available.”
Keep up-to-date with how London Road is changing at www.croydon.gov.uk/londonroad (Source: Croydon council press release.)
CROYDON CALLS ON GOVERNMENT TO DEVOLVE WORK PROGRAMME
Croydon is one of 23 “co-operative” councils urging the government to devolve a scheme that gets local people back into work.
Calling for the government’s back-to-work programme to be devolved to a local level, the Co-operative Councils Innovation Network (CCIN) says that locally-led co-operative employment schemes are far more effective at getting people back into jobs.
It believes that granting powers locally would create more jobs and reduce the cost of employment programmes by up to 25% saving £500m.
Croydon already has its own programme geared at getting local people back into work, known as Pathways to Employment.
This is a partnership between the council and Jobcentre Plus, as well as several private sector companies and charities, which aims to create more than 16,000 jobs in Croydon over the next five years.
In its report “Unlocking Our Wealth”, the CCIN concluded that local co-operative approaches, such as Pathways to Employment, which are designed around local people’s needs, have a far greater chance of success than running schemes from Whitehall.
Croydon council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for homes and regeneration Cllr Alison Butler said: “This administration has been very vocal in calling on Whitehall to devolve powers to local government.
“The back-to-work programme is another example of where local authorities are better placed to implement such schemes.
“We are the ones on the ground who know what works for Croydon and how to get things done.
“This is why we are teaming up with other councils in this co-operative to ask government to devolve part of its back-to-work programme to a local level.”
For more information about CCIN visit www.coopinnovation.co.uk (Source: Croydon council press release.)