As we look forward to a new year, we’ve taken the opportunity to review our work in 2015.
Last year the Leisurewatch scheme covered 39 members, across the public, private and third sectors; these looked after 240 sites ranging from parks and libraries to shopping centres and leisure centres. 28 of these sites were new, expanding the programme and the number of public spaces protected. We carried out 60 training workshops for almost 1,000 people, helping staff manage the risk of sexual offending in the spaces they look after in a rational and non-confrontational way. We also visited around 30 sites, either auditing them for the first time to help their staff think about potential areas of risk, or as part of a mystery visit which supplies on-going support to help members identify potential problems with their procedures.
Through the Leisurewatch scheme, we processed 52 referrals, passing on the details of concerning but non-criminal behaviour in public spaces onto the Police. This provided the Police with soft-intelligence about potentially concerning patterns of behaviour, and allowed them to support members with advice and feedback.
We also developed a number of resources for members around the problems which they face, such as providing Safeguarding training, developing public wifi policies without impairing the protection they provide to the public, and safely recruiting staff.
Full details of the Leisurewatch scheme can be found on our website, here: https://www.tdi.org.uk/leisurewatch/
Support and training for other organisations
Alongside our work with those managing public spaces, we continued to provide training for housing associations, care homes and organisations who provide support services for adults, children and young people with disabilities and other support needs.
A series of courses were held in March and April, helping organisations without statutory responsibility for child protection to spot the signs of child sexual exploitation and to make defensible decisions around child protection. Details of the training we provide are here: https://www.tdi.org.uk/training-and-resources/
Other work supporting defensible decision-making
TDI has always looked to support defensible decision-making in questions of risk management for public-facing organisations. In 2015, we explored issues of sexual exploitation in universities and other institutions of higher education, and continued to offer support for faith-based organisations.
Funders and supporters
In 2015, TDI received grant funding from the Esmée Fairburn Trust, the Tudor Trust, the Barbour Foundation, the Council for Social Concern and the WA Handley Charity Trust. We are proud to have their trust and support. We also received personal donations from Terence Finley and from Carole Howells’ memorial service, for which we are extremely grateful. More details on our present and historic funders are here: https://www.tdi.org.uk/about-us/funders-and-supporters/
After a long illness, Carole Howells MBE died last summer. Carole had been a stalwart supporter of TDI for more than 20 years, first as a trustee, and then as Chair from 2006 to 2015. We shall all miss her common sense, vast knowledge of the third sector, and unswerving loyalty to TDI through some very tough times. Lucy Armstrong took over as chair of TDI earlier in 2015 when Carole became unable to attend meetings. Another long-standing trustee, Professor Don Grubin, stepped down in October after more than 20 years when he retired from the NHS. We are immensely grateful to him for his support, and for his thoughtful questions which resulted in the creation of Leisurewatch. He will be familiar to anybody who has completed the Leisurewatch training from his starring appearance in the videos!
On the delivery team, we were joined by Matt Jenkins as researcher, working in the office, by Brian Herron, who has joined us as a trainer in Northern Ireland after years delivering Leisurewatch for us on secondment from PSNI and by Jan Van Wagtendonk, who is working pro bono for us one day a week as an Associate.
2015 was a busy and productive year for us, and we are excited about continuing our work in 2016. We have plans in place to continue developing the resources we provide to members through the Leisurewatch scheme, and to build on our work with faith-based organisations to improve safeguarding support in faith communities, as well as continuing to provide support to housing and care organisations and respond to issues as they arise with events and projects.
Thank you to all our members, supporters, and friends, and welcome if you are reading about us for the first time.