Guests at the Safe Spaces launch
Guests at the Safe Spaces launch

Child Friendly Cov, in collaboration with West Midlands Police, is proud to announce the launch of the Safe Spaces project.

This is aimed at fostering a safer environment for the children and young people of Coventry.

The initiative was unveiled during the Child Friendly Cov one-year update event, held at the Butts Park Arena.

Through extensive engagement with young people via focus groups, online surveys, and events, Child Friendly Cov has been listening to the concerns that local young people have.

Safety has been identified as a concern among the young people of Coventry, particularly regarding walking and travelling in the city centre. 

The Safe Spaces project involves the establishment of designated safe havens throughout the city, in partnership with various venues including Family Hubs, The Wave and St. Peter's. Other venues which have also shown an interest in becoming a Safe Space include libraries, CV Life venues, McDonald's restaurants, Coventry University, and youth organisations.

Staff at all Safe Space venues will undergo specialised training provided by Child Friendly Cov and West Midlands Police to ensure they adhere to safety standards.

Safe Spaces will be easily identifiable through window stickers and will be equipped with essential amenities such as power banks, chargers, first aid kits, and informational leaflets. 

Through partnerships with Langar Aid and Tesco, food and hygiene packs will also be made available at these locations.

Cllr Patricia Seaman, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “In creating a Child Friendly city and one where children and young people feel safe, it is so important that we listen to what they need.

“Safe Spaces comes from their suggestions and I think it is a wonderful idea. They are a place where children can go to power a phone, or to get some support from people trained to listen to them and provide help.

“Thank you to all the organisations for working so closely together to make this happen, it really is a major step forward in giving our young people the city they want and deserve.”

Neil Macdonald, Interim Director of Children’s Services at Coventry City Council, said: “Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of every young person in Coventry is our number one priority. 

“The Safe Spaces project represents a significant milestone in our commitment to creating a city where children and young people can thrive without fear. 

“By providing accessible and secure spaces across Coventry, we are empowering our youth to explore, learn, and grow in a supportive environment.”

CI Dave Amos, Chief Inspector - Local Policing, West Midlands Police, said: “These new safe spaces in Coventry mean that our young people will have options should they need to quickly find somewhere safe which will make a real difference. 

“It’s a great example of what a difference we can make when we all work together for the good of the city and it’s fantastic to see so many different organisations getting involved.”

Oscar, aged 9, emphasised the importance of Safe Spaces, saying: "I feel safer knowing there are places we can go where we know we'll be looked after. Places like this mean young people can explore our city without worrying too much about what might happen."

The Safe Spaces project marks a significant step towards fulfilling the commitment of Child Friendly Cov to ensure the safety and wellbeing of Coventry's youth, empowering them to thrive in their communities.

Published: Friday, 3rd May 2024