The actual day
The schools day in March was attended by more than 80 young people, ranging from Year 8 through to Sixth Form. Jo adds: “I had a particularly strong response from several Special Educational Needs schools who brought their students to take part in the day.”
The programme included an introduction to county lines from The Clewer Initiative; a forum theatre drama which had been devised and performed by sixth form students from Kings School, Worcester; a screening of the new film 'Which Side of The Track?' and three 20 minute workshops entitled Targeted, Expectation v Reality and Looking for Help which teams from the Cathedral, Platform and The Clewer Initiative wrote and facilitated.
The forum theatre drama was a powerful channel to communicate many of the issues surrounding county lines. The sixth formers from Kings School acted out the 10 minute performance in which a young person makes a series of “bad choices” which ultimately leads to his downfall. The performance was then started again and the audience were invited to interrupt and stop the drama whenever they wanted and suggest an alternative response. This enabled the young people to think about the choices they have and how they might avoid county lines or help someone before it is too late.
At the end of the day, Worcester Cathedral launched a Schools Graphic Design Competition which will enable the education project to continue over the coming months.
Clem Studholme of The Clewer Initiative was involved in facilitating some of the workshops and provided an introduction to county lines. He comments: “Interchange was a brilliant day because it enabled us to inform many young people about the nature of county lines and the impact it can have on individuals, families and communities. We explained the scale of the problem, looked at some case studies and explored the level of deception and manipulation that is involved.”
A young person who attended Interchange explained: “Prior to the day, I knew very little about county lines. Now I realise it could happen to anyone, even children. I see how easy it is to get caught up in county lines and so hard to get out of it. Today has been really important because at least one child in our school will probably get targeted and if we don’t know how to deal with it, we will be extremely vulnerable. Now we have all been educated so we all have a chance to spot the signs.”