£1.1million funding to give North Somerset’s vulnerable children ‘the best chance in life’

It will help young people who are at risk of abuse or being exploited.

It will help young people who are at risk of abuse or being exploited. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A project supporting children and young people at risk of exploitation or abuse in North Somerset has received £1.1million in funding.

The Government’s Home Office confirmed last week it was providing the money to North Somerset Council to run a four-year scheme through its £13million Trusted Relationship Fund.

The project will provide early intervention to help young people who are at risk of abuse or being exploited.

It will specifically address the vulnerabilities looked-after children, missing children and those with special education needs and disabilities have.

Victoria Atkins, the Government Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, said: “Early intervention is vitally important to give vulnerable young people the best chance in life and steer them away from destructive harms.

“I am delighted to announce that the Trusted Relationship will be providing support to such a valuable project in North Somerset.”

The Trusted Relationship Fund launched earlier this year, after the Early Intervention Foundation, which researches ways to tackle social problems among young people, carried out a review commissioned by the Home Office.

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Its report found trusted relationships between children and adults can make young people significantly more likely to disclose when abuse is happening to them.

It also highlighted a lack of trusted relationships is consistently cited as a contributing factor in cases of child sexual abuse and exploitation.

An NSPCC South West of England spokesman said: “Child sexual exploitation is often a hidden crime that leaves victims feeling trapped and with nowhere to turn.

“Offenders deceive and manipulate vulnerable children, who don’t always understand that they are being abused.

“Any new scheme which raises awareness of this awful behaviour and helps young people spot the warning signs is hugely positive.”

A number of other local authorities across the country were also given awards to fund projects in their areas, although North Somerset was the only one in the South West.