On March 7th, over a hundred brave school children as young as nine and ten from across Bristol took to the stage to perform in the What Would You Do? Concert at the Colston Hall to an audience of over 800.
The concert was the grand finale following six months of learning and practice overseen by Unique Voice. As a result of the project, the children now understand that they have safe options available to them if they are ever confronted with a crime, such as calling Crimestoppers.
PC Karen MacDonald, QPM, Bristol Youth Strategy Officer, commented: “Never before have such young children engaged with the police and Crimestoppers in this way. We don’t just tell them how to keep safe – we involve them in the learning through drama.”
The children’s learning through drama has been described as ‘having stirred a new confidence in the most unlikely suspects’. Michael Cromney, Year 5 Teacher of St. Barnabas School, remarked how: “Due to the interactive nature of the activities, all children have achieved great things in terms of performance, confidence, and understanding of the issues which affect us all. The safe environment, which the project has fostered, enabled the children to explore their feelings and responses to real life situations”.
The project has not only succeeded in building confidence in the Bristol school children but has also developed a stronger community and awareness of crime in the community.
West Country Crimestoppers Manager Gordon Chrisholm revealed that: “Although the diversity of the communities in Bristol is vast, the schools were paired up to deliver their showcase piece and as a result it has spurred friendships among some children whose paths might otherwise never cross.”
The much talked about concert attracted a wide audience including some representatives from the Home Office and headquarters of Crimestoppers. Mark Hallas, Chief Executive, commented after the event that: “Tonight, Colston Hall witnessed a brilliant performance from the children, whose energy, enthusiasm and imagination shone from start to finish as they made clear their intention to make Bristol an even better place to live in. Well done to West Country Crimestoppers and everyone else involved for your all your hard work. Long may it continue.”
So what next? Since the project was such a success, West Country Crimestoppers are hoping the project will go and branch out to other areas across the UK, with Bristol leading the way.