Safety Net

Safety Net is a Brighton based registered charity that promotes safety and wellbeing for children, young people and families at home, in school and in their local communities across the city of Brighton and Hove and Sussex county.

Our vision is to build communities where all children, young people and adults have the right to feel safe and the responsibility to keep others safe. Safety Net runs specialist family support services, anti-bullying projects, training and home safety projects. We deliver child protection, protective behaviours and child safety training to local statutory and voluntary sector agencies.

“There are still bullies but they don’t bother me anymore” (Matthew)

 

What We Do To Help

SNAP Groups

SNAP groups are interactive sessions that teach self-help strategies including assertiveness skills and problem-solving, through varied activities including;

  • Arts & Crafts  e.g. making “protective” shields, “my mission” rockets)
  • Drama  e.g. role-play and forum-theatre exploring actions and response
  • Topical Story-Time & Discussion  e.g. “The Huge Bag of Worries”, “I’m Lonely”
  • Individual written Activities e.g. “Stop, Think, Go!” and “Helping Hands”, to identify and record support networks.

By coming to a SNAP group children will experience a safe environment where they can participate equally in fun activities that teach them new skills to prevent bullying and which boost their confidence.  They gain:

  • Life skills e.g. assertiveness, listening, empathy, negotiation, resilience, conflict resolution
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Better coping strategies for bullying
  • Better knowledge of who to ask for help
  • Increased ability to ask adults for help
  • More confidence e.g. becoming more socially adept and emotionally aware
  • A reduction in the bullying experiences they have
  • Specific support for particularly vulnerable groups e.g. young carers, children of mixed parentage, children in transition

SNAP runs Parent Support Groups that help parents to become better aware and equipped with skills to continue to support their children after thy leave SNAP.  The groups also provide links with other parents who are in a similar situation, helping to reduce isolation.

SNAP also provides community awareness raising activities that promote bullying prevention messages across schools and the local community, as well as increasing awareness of SNAP and other locally available anti-bullying support amongst children, parents and the local community

100% of children recently surveyed said they found SNAP useful in helping them combat bullying.

“Natasha now stands her ground and speaks up for herself. SNAP has given her a way of dealing with difficult situations and a way to manage and control feelings under stress.” (Parent)

“All the pupils seem to have enjoyed the session. All the pupils showed greater awareness of how to deal with bullies. All the pupils felt more confident in dealing with potential bullies. They felt empowered.” (Teacher, Secondary School)

 

Playground Buddies

Playground Buddies is an anti-bullying project delivered in primary schools across Brighton and Hove. Safety Net recruits and trains groups of children aged 8 to 11 (The Playground Buddies), to carry out the role of Peer Supporters for vulnerable children in the school playground.

Evidence from a Brighton and Hove Safe at Schools survey showed that 90% of primary pupils who were bullied, said they were bullied in the playground. Playtimes can be a difficult time for children who do not have a large group of friends to play with or who do not have the social skills to join in with games. This can leave them isolated, feeling lonely or subject to becoming targets for negative attention like bullying.

Safety Net trains Playground Buddies in basic skills over a 4 week programme that includes:

  • Their responsibilities as a Buddy e.g. Wear my hat on rota day / go to the Buddy Support Group / set an example to other children
  • Early Warning Signs – signs that you get in your body if you feel unsafe e.g. butterflies in my tummy, dry mouth, jelly knees
  • Helping Hands – how to identify our personal support network who we can call on if we feel unsafe e.g. Mummy, Grandad, Miss Peters my teacher
  • Inclusive playground games for children e.g. Duck, duck, goose, Please Mr. Crocodile
  • Listening skills and role play- Personal and physical safety in the playground

Playground Buddies empathise with vulnerable children, are a friendly face in the playground and will get the help of an adult if needed.  Our PEER SUPPORT FORUM is a child-led initiative to support existing Playground Buddies and to promote the participation of new Buddies into the Project.

Playground Buddies Results

  • 90% of staff and 85% of children recently surveyed in school said that Playground Buddies had made a difference to the playground feeling safer and that children were more able to ask for help
  • Children who have become Buddies have gone on to present at national conferences and have been awarded the Princess Diana Award for their work.

“I must pass on to Safety Net what a big thing Buddies had become in our school and how important it is in the make-up of our management of older children and integration of lower and upper age groups. So, thank-you!!!” (St Andrew’s Primary School, Hove)

 

Family Link

Family Link is Safety Net’s established family support project that has been working in the East Brighton area (ranked in the top 10% most deprived nationally) for the last 5 years.

Many of the families that we work with in these deprived communities have complex life issues. These include lone parenting, step-parenting, poor parenting skills, high levels of stress, ill health, poor mental health, disabilities, family conflict, a history of domestic violence, substance misuse, poor diet, debt issues, high levels of bereavement, risk of child abuse and children on the child protection register. Children from these families often have special educational needs, mental health issues, and challenging behaviour; have school attendance issues or are at risk of school exclusion; are involved with bullying or at risk of harm.

There are around 6000 dependent children in the deprived communities of East Brighton, including Mouslecoomb and Whitehawk. (Source: April 2001 census). These target neighbourhoods are within the top 10% of national social, economic and education deprivation.

There are over 10,000+ families in these areas; around 14% of these are lone parent families, with the majority of these having 2+ children. 91% of lone parents are mothers. (Source: Office for National Statistics).

Children from fatherless households are 20 times more likely to have behaviour difficulties and 32 times more likely to move or run away (Source: NSPCC), creating a significant issue in these local communities.

Family Link aims to provide high quality family support and resources to mothers, children and families in need within the socially deprived communities of Brighton and Hove that enhance the care and parenting of vulnerable children of primary school age.  Family Link outcomes are better parent and child relationships, improved family communications, increased parental confidence and well-being, improved mental health, reduced stress levels, reduced instances of abuse, support networks created and improved social engagement within the community; overall, children and families helped to keep safe.

Family Link provides the following services:

  • A home visiting service providing one-to-one specialist family support, tailored to the family’s needs. We work closely with the whole family, establishing trusting relationships and building on family strengths and resources, along with helping to access additional resources in the community
  • Positive Parenting Training sessions and Workshops (using evidenced based Parenting Programmes)
  • Outings and activities for families to share time and learn together
  • Specialist group work, e.g. for parents of bullied children; for fathers and male carers.

Family Link results

88% of families referred to Family Link engaged fully and reported a positive change.  Of these:

  • 97% reported an improvement in their parenting
  • 96% reported an improvement in their child’s behaviour
  • 97% reported better relationships with schools and other local service providers

 

PROTECTIVE BEHAVIOURS

Safety Net uses a methodology called Protective Behaviours (PBs) to underpin our approach to our work.  PB’s is a safety and life skills programme which teaches individuals how to recognise when they are not feeling safe and provides the skills and practical tools to enable individuals to take action and get help when they need it. The approach encourages everyone to develop their personal networks of support and to explore how they can access that support, along with building problem solving skills. It also recognises that life is about taking risks and trying new things, and that this is an important part of our development and a valuable life skill.

For more information on Protective Behaviors click here

For more information about the work of Safety Net please visit www.safety-net.org.uk

Registered Charity Number 1108772