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A leading organisation in the fight against domestic abuse has launched a special programme aimed at school children across the county.

head5The GREAT Project – a healthy relationship and domestic abuse awareness project for pupils in Year 6 – will be piloted in 5 schools across Herefordshire.

The project came about following some collaborative working between West Mercia Women’s Aid and Equation in Nottinghamshire – formerly The Nottingham Domestic Abuse Forum. 

Equation had designed, delivered, piloted and evaluated The GREAT Project; an enormous success, it was adopted by all but 2 schools.  West Mercia Women’s Aid saw an opportuhead4nity to bring The GREAT Project to West Mercia and – with the assistance of Equation – the organisation was able to achieve this.

head1West Mercia Women’s Aid currently has funding from Herefordshire Council to deliver to 10 classes.  The programme will run for 4 weeks with 2-hour sessions, and the workers will return for a fifth session to find out what the children have retained.  They will also provide a twilight session for head teachers, governors and staff prior to delivery so that all those involved are fully briefed on what the objectives of the programme are.

The schools who will benefit from the pilot are St Thomas Cantilupe, Marlbrook, Riverside, St Martins and Trinity.  The pilot will end in the spring of 2014.

The GREAT Project will also be piloted in Worcestershire in January fundedhead2 by The Worcestershire Forum Against Domestic Abuse.  The schools identified are Birchensale Middle School and Ipsley Middle School in Redditch, St John’s Primary School in Kidderminster and Gorse Hill Primary School and Stanley Road Primary School in Worcester.

The project – which stands for Good Relationships are Equal and Trusting – aims to enable head3young people to have the knowledge, language and confidence to talk about and aspire to healthy relationships.  The classes focus on developing healthy relationships, defining domestic abuse, reasons and excuses and respecting each other.

Jan Frances, Chief Executive of West Mercia Women’s Aid said: “We are ahead6bsolutely delighted to be able to pilot such an informative and effective programme.  Ensuring that children are aware of these issues from an early age is an important part of encouraging healthy relationships in adulthood.  We are sure it will be a great success and look forward to schools across the two counties adopting the programme going forward.”