As children return to school this week following the long summer holidays, we’re highlighting some of the work our Bristol school beat managers have been doing with students to keep them engaged and focussed whilst they’ve been out of school.
School beat managers have a unique role to play in young people’s lives. They are based in schools and work to forge relationships with students. They help to mentor students, resolve conflicts which arise and raise money from local businesses which help to fund the activities and sessions they run for children.
PC Louise Dembicki, who works at the Bristol Metropolitan Academy in Fishponds said: “As a school beat manager, our work doesn’t stop when children are off school, In fact, in many ways we have to think of more interesting and creative ways to keep students busy and on the right track, when they don’t have the routine of school to keep them focussed.
“This summer, I have worked alongside PCSO Leanne Sullivan who is based at Bristol Brunel Academy, with around twenty children, co-ordinating a whole range of activities including cooking lessons, cinema trips, adventure days at Go Ape and Cheddar Gorge and days out at Bristol City Football Club and Wookey Hole amongst others.
“We also worked with our partners in Catch 22, the charity based at Trinity Road Police Station which supports young people to lead lives away from crime and street conflict, to provide a range of activities which would keep students occupied, develop their skills and enhance the positive relationships which we work so hard to forge with young people. I want to say a big thank you to all the locations that provided discounted or free entry to enable the trips to go ahead.”
‘PC Bev’ as her students call her, organised for the force to donate bikes to the Felix Road Adventure Playground in Easton as part of a summer scheme. Many of the children who go to Fairfield live in Easton, and this scheme gave them the opportunity to fix and repair bikes to ensure they are road worthy.
Pupils learnt new skills by making contact with bike shops, arranging deals to order new parts, and have undertaken the Bristol City Council Level 3 Bike Ability Advanced Cycle Training, to make sure they're safe on our roads.
PC Douglas said: “As many of my students live in and around Easton and have connections with Felix Road Adventure Playground, it made it sense to donate some of the bikes to them, knowing that there are members of staff who have the skills to help the young people in repairing the bikes.
“My connection with the playground goes back some 40 years to when I was a child growing up in Easton. I have fond memories of going there during the weekends and school holidays. My nieces and nephews also enjoy the facilities and are now employed as session workers, which is very pleasing. It’s a fantastic community resource which needs as much support as possible from the police and other organisations.”
PC Douglas and Avon and Somerset Police’s Black Police Association also recently supported a community fun day at Felix Rd playground, to help them raise money to keep their activities going.
PC Withers has helped to run a summer camp at The Park Centre in Knowle West, which gave young people the opportunity to take part in a range of sports. PC Withers ran the camp in partnership with Youth Moves and the Bristol Community Trust.
Children who took part ranged in age from 8 – 15 years old and the busiest day saw 37 people take part.
PCSO Brown organised a week of activities during August which were free for all local residents. This included a game of dodge ball between local children and the local neighbourhood police team for the area.
Over the summer, PC Merrick has put on a range of activities, funded By Bristol Youth Community Action (BYCA), which have kept a targeted group of young people from various schools in north Bristol busy. Activities involved community work, including healthy eating cooking classes which helped to feed hungry rugby players at the Old Bristolians Rugby Club in Failand. The group’s engagement in the community work was rewarded with a selection of activities ranging from quad trekking in the Welsh hills to Laser Quest sessions at Avonmouth.
PC Merrick said. “I have run workshops like this since 2002, working with other partners to engage young people in positive activities. Children thrive when given responsibilities like community work, as they can see the fruits of their labour.”