Animal magic was on the agenda for a group of young people with disabilities who are learning about how Doncaster’s community is cared for as part of a Junior PCSO scheme.
Among a range of exciting visits was a day checking out how the public are kept safe at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park.
The innovative programme puts the young people in the role of Junior Police Community Support Officers, and is run by South Yorkshire Police, working with St. Leger Homes, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and Doncaster Council. It is partly funded by St. Leger Homes, and this particular Junior PCSO scheme is for 9 to 19 year olds who have physical and mental disabilities.
The aim is to give the young people first-hand experience of what the organisations do, and to show them how issues such as crime and anti-social behaviour can affect communities. It forms part of the successful Junior PCSO project which has been run in Doncaster in recent years, and is the first to be available to people with disabilities.
Susan Jordan, Chief Executive of St. Leger Homes, said: “The Junior PCSO programme offers a great chance to get involved and learn about the important work done to safeguard our neighbourhoods. I am thrilled that we can now give this opportunity to these young people.”
PC Maxine Farrell of South Yorkshire Police, who is co-ordinating the project, said: "The scheme has been designed to provide a programme of activities that can allow young people to make a positive contribution and broaden their understanding of their own responsibilities.
“It helps raise their social awareness as well as providing them with a much clearer understanding of the work undertaken by the Police, and helping to build positive relationships with us.”