GETTING REAL ABOUT ARSON
As the first VRU to include arson in its serious violence, the VRP is producing a new animation with Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS) to help prevent arson – and get it discussed – among young people in Merseyside.
Youth engagement workers will take the animation to schools, pupil referral units (PRUs) and youth groups and use the storyline to facilitate discussions about the many issues that surround arson. Young people will be encouraged to see the bigger picture, which includes issues such as home life, domestic violence, peer pressure, drugs, county lines and education.
“The storyline has been developed to allow young people to consider the reasons why young people commit arson because it’s not just a thrill-seeking activity as many might think,” says Pete Owens, Arson Lead, VRP.
“The motivation to get involved in serious violence, no matter what the activity, is usually driven by a complex number of drivers, whether that’s becoming involved in an organised criminal gang (OCG), friends, unhappiness or frustration at home, other Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) – the list goes on.
“Our animation and its resource pack will prompt meaningful discussions with trained facilitators, so young people can better understand the consequences of their decision-making and the importance of taking responsibility for themselves.”
For animator James Millington from Millmotion, this is his third VRP project.
“It’s fantastic to be involved in a creative project that feels meaningful, knowing it aims to make a real difference to our communities. The challenge is to bring life to such a poignant storyline. We’ve also worked with local actor Nick Moss to do our voiceover and we’ve got a brilliant sound designer too, so I’m expecting it to have real impact.”
The untitled animation is due for completion in May. Support and support agencies will be offered and signposted throughout the sessions. Partners who think they might want to use this animation and resource pack can register their interest by emailing PeterOwens@merseyfire.gov.uk