LFC Foundation has released figures showcasing the breadth and impact of its work carried out across the Liverpool City Region on crime prevention.
Through a network of local, regional and national partnerships, LFC Foundation’s crime prevention work, which was established in 2018, incorporates a range of programmes that use the power of the LFC badge to reduce the risk of children and young people engaging in offending behaviour.
As part of Child Exploitation Awareness Day 2021, the club’s official charity is highlighting the work of the team, who have engaged with a total of 1,190 sessions to more than 650 participants in 14 schools across Liverpool, Knowsley and St Helens.
The programmes work closely with local schools and organisations such as Merseyside Police, with core delivery including topics such as mental health awareness, drugs and alcohol misuse, gangs and toxic masculinity, and crime and its effects.
Anna Slack, crime prevention programme manager at LFC Foundation, said: “These early intervention programmes identify and target young people who may otherwise be at a higher risk of participating in criminal activities.
“Using a range of delivery methodologies, from group workshops to one-to-one mentoring, the programmes aim to help young people to broaden their minds, challenge their knowledge and improve their chances of becoming successful and happy adults.”
Matt Parish, chief executive of LFC Foundation, said: “We see time and time again that the power of the LFC badge can’t be underestimated. This gives us a massive opportunity to make an impact on the level of anti-social behaviour and crime in local areas by working with partners, making early interventions and through diversionary activities.
“Throughout lockdown, LFC Foundation’s team has also been undertaking detached work to support the police and local partners to prevent anti-social behaviour, and virtual sessions in schools have meant that more young people are prepared against the threat of county lines gangs and other incidents of child exploitation.”
A key area of work for the team, in partnership with Merseyside Police, is the county lines programme, which educates young people about drugs gangs and provides interventions to prevent young people becoming involved in county lines crime.
Detective superintendent Sue Coombs, from the Protecting Vulnerable People Unit at Merseyside Police, said: “We welcome the work carried out by LFC Foundation in educating young people on child exploitation.
“Early intervention is key and we want those at risk of exploitation to have the knowledge and confidence to break free and for others in our communities to be aware of the signs so that they can report any concerns that they may have.
“We have a dedicated team who actively target those who not only criminally exploit children, but those who we suspect are involved in moving children around to enable them to be taken advantage of. We’re committed to the protection and safeguarding of victims, alongside all partners, and we’ll continue to use all available legislation to bring those responsible in front of the courts.”
During Child Exploitation Awareness Day, LFC Foundation is expanding its county lines work in schools to its social media channels, with helpful videos to explain the issues around child exploitation, highlight the indicators and behaviours to look out for in young people, and to explain where to go if you have concerns.
The team have also put together a short educational session exploring child sexual exploitation, using activities from LFC Foundation’s county lines programme, aimed at young people, parents and guardians, which can be viewed above or by clicking here.
Throughout the day, LFC Foundation is publishing safeguarding guidance, including the importance of reporting information.
If you are worried that a person you know may be being exploited, please contact local police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.
If you are in the UK and have been affected by any of the themes in the LFC Foundation videos, please contact:
Non-UK residents, please contact your local support services.
The Liverpool FC Safeguarding team can also help: www.liverpoolfc.com/fans/safeguarding.