Students take on media role to help tackle crime issues

Winners: Emily Walker, Sophie Lee and Monae Barron from King Edward VII school with their Yoyo award
Winners: Emily Walker, Sophie Lee and Monae Barron from King Edward VII school with their Yoyo award
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Students from schools across South Yorkshire have taken a step towards shaping their own future through an innovative You’re Only Young Once project which has helped them to learn and spread crucial messages about the dangers the next generation face as they approach adulthood.

Students from schools across South Yorkshire have taken a step towards shaping their own future through an innovative You’re Only Young Once project which has helped them to learn and spread crucial messages about the dangers the next generation face as they approach adulthood.

Superstar: Sheffield UTC College student Matt Stanton, 17, won the 'superstar' award for his work on knife crime.

Superstar: Sheffield UTC College student Matt Stanton, 17, won the 'superstar' award for his work on knife crime.

The Yoyo project is supported with funding from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner in South Yorkshire and has been run as a joint enterprise with the Bauer Academy, offering schools across the region the opportunity for pupils to get involved with media training that has ultimately led to the production of videos, podcasts and radio advertisements.

But the scheme has been more than a training exercise, their output has been used and one video alone created by pupils at the Outwood Academy in Shafton, Barnsley, has been viewed more than 1,000 times.

Across town at Darton High School, pupils researched the issue of alcohol awareness and made a podcast on the topic.

However, teacher Jason Gardner said the work had been so successful the school had now decided to move forwards with its own media campaign to tackle sexual harassment in school.

Inspiring: Work by students Lucas Wilson, Callum Artley, Billie Henshaw, Eleanor Baker and Sarah Cooper has convinced Darton High School to launch a new media campaign.

Inspiring: Work by students Lucas Wilson, Callum Artley, Billie Henshaw, Eleanor Baker and Sarah Cooper has convinced Darton High School to launch a new media campaign.

“We are looking to get a video created which can be used to educate kids in school and at other schools,” he said.

A celebration event has been held at the Radio Hallam studios in Sheffield, where some of the most successful projects were showcased, with Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings among the invited guests.

Student Matt Stanton, of Middlewood, Sheffield, is studying on a media course at the UTC college in Sheffield and attended a ‘summer camp’ session at the studio, which earned him a ‘superstar’ award for his work to highlight the dangers of knife crime.

His work was recorded in a studio at Radio Hallam, but only after he had done the research needed to make it work.

“I thought it was important to look at knife crime because of how big an issue it is,” he said.

“The statistics were for Sheffield, to try to make it more local. It was an amazing experience and it has been very useful for me,” he said.

A team of year nine students from King Edward VIII school in Sheffield also had their work, aimed at deterring teenagers from getting involved in guns, knives and gangs recognised, particularly for their hashtag #dabdontstab along with a podcast they created.

All the material is available to the PCC and may be used in future if a social media campaign is needed to respond quickly to localised problems in the area.

The success of the project has been attributed to a combination of the expertise offered by Bauer’s training staff but also the decision to allow the students involved to make their own decisions and do their own research, meaning the finished products have been what they wanted to produce, rather than something they have been told to do.

That provides a level of credibility which means others from the same age group are likely to pay attention to the messages presented by the groups involved.