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Young people in the area unite for launch of film to raise awareness of child criminal exploitation

Ryan's Story about child criminal exploitation

Young people in the area unite for launch of film to raise awareness of child criminal exploitation

Young people in North East Lincolnshire have come together for the launch of Ryan’s Story, the latest release in a trio of films about child criminal exploitation.

The interactive film follows the films Alfie’s Story and Chloe’s Story and gives viewers a chance to make choices on behalf of main character Ryan.

The three films are part of the Not In Our Community campaign, funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Humberside.

They were commissioned by North East Lincolnshire Council’s Young and Safe Team, bringing together young people from the area to create the film together.

The young people were responsible for coming up with the storyline and characters, which were then brought to life by writer and producer John Gilbert, members of the Young and Safe team and the Graft Project.

Some of the young people involved took on acting roles – and with the help of Grimsby-based actor Thomas Turgoose – they selected additional actors to play parts in the film.

In the interactive film, the storylines follow paths based on Ryan joining either a local or out of town organised crime group and the violent consequences of him doing so.

A North East Lincolnshire Council spokesperson said: “The young people advising the project agreed it was important that the film felt realistic and that once in these kinds of situations there are no right and safe options you can make.

“Their message is that wherever possible you should avoid getting involved in drug dealing and organised crime in the first place.”

Writer and producer John Gilbert said: “People who’ve seen the film tell us that it feels real in a way that hasn’t been done before. The young people who steered the project had a clear idea of the messages we needed to get across and a style that would make young people stop and think about the issues the film raises.

“I’m so pleased that the lads feel that we’ve got it right and full credit to them for putting in the effort and pushing themselves out of their comfort zone by doing things like writing, acting and even performing on the soundtrack.

“I’m excited to see how people react and hope it becomes a valuable tool in the work against organised crime in our area.”

Councillor Ian Lindley, portfolio holder for children, education and skills at North East Lincolnshire Council, said: “This is yet another incredibly powerful piece of work produced locally and involving our young people, exploring the theme of child criminal exploitation.

“Child criminal exploitation remains one of the biggest threats to young people, with about 46,000 children thought to be involved in gangs nationally, and some 4,000 young people being exploited in London alone.

“In North East Lincolnshire, we’re not immune to these problems, so projects like this are vital because they give young people and their parents and carers an opportunity to learn about these issues, spot the signs, and know how to avoid becoming embroiled in these types of criminal exploitation.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Jonathan Evison said: “I’m a strong believer in early intervention, providing young people and communities the tools to protect themselves. Not In Our Community works closely with young people and with partners to develop strong campaign messages and impactful innovative resources to raise awareness of child exploitation.

“A partnership approach is vital in tackling these issues and I am grateful to North East Lincolnshire Council for working with our campaign and for investing in this high-impact, awareness-raising resource.”

Founded in 2014 and funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Humberside, Not In Our Community is a campaign that uses media to help young people protect themselves and their friends from grooming and exploitation.

You can watch Ryan’s Story here.

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Lauren started working for Gi Media in March this year. She graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2019 with a degree in Journalism Studies and a Gold-Standard Diploma from the National Council of the Training of Journalists (NCTJ). She has several years of experience writing for both local and national media outlets.