The ROSE project - empowering people with learning disabilities to be heard and for their voice to genuinely influence work to reduce the risk of sexual exploitation at all levels.
The ROSE project was funded by a 3-year grant from the Samworth Foundation Young Voices Programme.
Through ROSE, we aimed to raise awareness of the risks of sexual exploitation facing people with learning disabilities and how to stay safe. To achieve this, a team of ROSE Mentors delivered training to young people with learning disabilities, family carers, and education, health and care professionals.
Everyone at Reach is very proud of what has been achieved by the ROSE Mentors and staff through this ground-breaking 3-year initiative.
ROSE Mentors are Reach clients who trained to deliver guidance and presentations in a range of settings. Covid-19 necessitated some change, including delivering online sessions to all target groups at times. However, the team were also able to do what they enjoy most: delivering face-to-face training.
11 ROSE Mentors gained an AQA qualification through the project, including ‘An Introduction to Peer Education’ and, for Senior Mentors, ‘Service User Participation in Sexual Exploitation’ which was written by our ROSE Project Consultant and Project Worker.
To mark the end of the project, we held a celebration event in June 2022 to share and explore what needs ROSE has met, including looking at the benefits of Peer Mentoring. Invitees included our evaluators from the Ann Craft Trust, representatives from our funder, schools, universities and the voluntary sector, and Reach colleagues and Trustees.
We extend a special thank you to the Samworth Foundation staff and Trustees. It means a great deal to have been selected as one of the six projects funded through their national Young Voices programme and to have worked with colleagues from across England.
Bridget Fisher, Project Consultant
If you have any questions about our project or would like to request any training resources, please email Julia Sandhu, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ROSE Project History
Our project built on work previously done through a partnership project that Reach took part in called the HOPE Project. The HOPE Project aimed to prevent sexual exploitation and was led by the British Institute of Learning Disabilities with funding from the European Social Care Fund. The project enabled ten Reach clients with learning disabilities to train as peer mentors. Following this training they delivered sessions to children, adults with learning disabilities and health care professionals across Nottinghamshire.
In June 2019 Reach was awarded a three-year grant from the Samworth Foundation’s Young Voices fund for the ROSE Project, which builds on the learning and skills developed during the HOPE Project. Samworth awarded the grant to Reach so that the voices of young disabled adults could be represented in their initiative to reduce risk of sexual exploitation.
The original peer mentors from the HOPE Project were supported to maintain and increase their skills and new mentors recruited and trained.
What did you find most useful about our training?
"Being delivered by people with learning disabilities, hearing their perspectives."
"Having the young people involved in delivering the session as this was more impactful."
What changes will you make as a result of our training?
"Review that training for frontline staff emphasises the points made about working with people who have learning disability and potential vulnerability."
"I feel that this training has made me more confident about exploring the topics of online and offline sexual exploitation."
How could our training be further improved?
"I don't think the training could be improved, I think the training should be promoted more as it is so useful and highlights the dangers that we may not have realised."
Meet some of our Project Team
Isobel - Mentor
I really liked the students at St Francis. They were interested in what we were saying. They were willing to learn and got involved in our puzzles and quiz. We helped a new mentor as well so now she can work with us at our schools. I really enjoyed designing the cover logo on the workbook, making it like the flowers and the thorns to protect us.
Dani - Project Manager
I enjoy working within a project that promotes inclusion. We are colleagues working together, towards the same goal. Seeing mentors grow in self-confidence and finding their own voice is one of the most important things to me.
Lizzie - Mentor
I like being a mentor for the ROSE project as to me it means helping people with disabilities keep themselves safe at all times, online and outside. It helps people be aware of the dangers, change the way they think, how they are online and what to look out for so it can be stopped before it has started.
Kay - Project Coordinator
What I love most about working on the project are the challenges that come with instigating change and working alongside a fantastic team of colleagues. The biggest challenge is getting the message out to as many people as possible in a very different world to when I joined the project. The mentors come to life when in a classroom and it has taken us all time to adjust to the technology required to present the project online. It has been such a privilege to watch the mentors grow in confidence.
Chelsea - Mentor
I joined the ROSE team as a mentor in 2019. Activities that helped me feel part of the team were icebreakers and games. I like that the team decides what happens in the project by having discussions about what will happen next. I feel staff need to hear my voice as part of the stopping sexual exploitation project. My hopes for the future of the ROSE project are to get as many people as possible to know about sexual exploitation.
Bridget - Project Consultant
On the Rose project I get to work with a great bunch of people - we all share the same idea that people with learning disabilities are entitled to good, positive relationships. I have been working with some of the mentors for five years and have witnessed how they have grown in confidence and ability. One of the greatest benefits of the project is getting our message out to people with learning disabilities and those who support them so that they can understand how to avoid sexual exploitation.