Grimsby Town’s home fixture against Crewe Alexandra this Saturday will be a platform to raise awareness of a local campaign that helps young people protect their friends against grooming and exploitation.
The Mariners are lending support for Not In Our Community, an initiative that has worked, since 2015, with survivors of sexual and criminal exploitation in North East Lincolnshire to share their stories with the aim of preventing further young people from becoming victims.
The club pledged their support at the Not In Our Community youth summit at Grimsby Institute in March with club mascot Mighty Mariner becoming a campaign ambassador.
Grimsby Town chairman John Fenty said: “It’s very concerning to learn our area and young people are being targeted by organised criminal gangs from elsewhere in the country. As a community and as a club this is not something we are prepared to accept.”
“We are pleased to support Not In Our Community to reinforce the message to young people that they are not alone and that there are people who can help them if they are concerned about themselves or someone they know.”
Not In Our Community creates interactive stories and short films, including Alfie’s Story which was cast and produced in Grimsby and has been viewed over a million times since its release in November 2018.
The film shows how a young boy, Alfie, was groomed and exploited by a gang of drug dealers using the County Lines method of dealing drugs and exploiting local people.
Not In Our Community was founded by Campaign Patron Gail Mettyear in 2014 and has gone on to help many young people protect themselves and their friends against exploitation.
Mrs Mettyear said: “The work we do in North East Lincolnshire is incredibly important. I’m delighted and grateful that Grimsby Town Football Club kindly agreed to help raise awareness of the very real risks that young people continue to face on an all-too-often basis.”
Members of the Not In Our Community team and young ambassadors will be at Blundell Park on Saturday before kick-off and at half time to speak with fans about the warning signs of grooming in the local area as well as handing out information cards, stickers and wristbands.
Signs that a young person might be being sexually or criminally exploited include: going missing from home or school, having unexplained possessions, using drugs or alcohol on a regular basis, and having new groups of friends and secrecy around their phone.
More information about the signs of grooming, exploitation and where to get help is available at www.notinourcommunity.org