A community project to boost self esteem and learning among young girls has been hailed a success by the police.
Youngsters aged 11 to 16 took part in the nine-week Girls Learning Opportunities (GLO) course at Lupset’s St George’s Community Centre.
The pilot project helped 16 girls consider their career options and think about higher education.
It included discussions dealing with tough issues facing some young girls, including alcohol, smoking, rape, sexual assault and child sexual exploitation.
Police teamed up with community groups and Wakefield and District Housing to deliver the course at the centre on Broadway.
West Yorkshire Police’s Sue Widdowson said: “It is uniquely geared around the requests and interests of the girls, their choice being health and beauty.
“Weaved in among the practical elements of this course are discussions on the important issues which can be potentially faced by young girls of this age range.”
A visit to Wakefield College’s SkillsXchange campus in Glasshoughton was also included in the course, which was created by Acting Sgt Phillippa Child.
She said: “It enables the police and our partners to open up a dialogue with the girls in a non-threatening environment.
“By breaking down any perceived barriers, the girls can feel comfortable in discussing personal issues or concerns.
“It is important that they have aspirations as they grow into adults and this course offers them the support they need to achieve this.”
Act Sgt Child said parents and schools reported improved behaviour from the girls, who suggested jewellery, dress design and hairdressing as topics for future courses.
She added: “We are also considering a self-defence class and discussions around teenage pregnancy, domestic violence and drug abuse.
“Some of the girls have volunteered to become future mentors and we are now considering rolling this out to other areas of the district.”