*Dale Chief Executive Colin Garlick is joined was joined pitchside at Saturday's match v Plymouth Argyle by The Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner, Tony Lloyd, Chief Executive of Manchester County FA, Colin Bridgford and the Leader of Rochdale Council, Colin Lambert (from left to right).
Rochdale AFC has been honoured by Manchester County FA for its support of, and efforts to, champion the work being carried out by The Sunrise Team to tackle Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) in Rochdale.
Manchester County FA presented the club with its Community Equality Award before kick-off at Saturday's match v Plymouth Argyle at Spotland. The award is in recognition of Dale's commitment to champion and raise awareness of CSE in the borough. .
Chief Executive of Manchester County FA, Colin Bridgford, was on hand to present the award to the club and said: “I was delighted to be able to present the award to Rochdale AFC. The club’s ability to reach a wider community will clearly help people understand the risk that is inherent to young people.”
In November last year a group of players recorded a video telling fans and the public to be on the look-out for signs of CSE and how to report these to the Sunrise team. The video was also made available on Rochdale AFC’s website, the Sunrise Team website and was sent out on social media networks.
Rochdale AFC Chief Executive Colin Garlick, commented: “We are really honoured to be given this award, but more importantly we are committed to raising awareness of CSE. It is a despicable crime against our young people and it has to be tackled. Everyone should be made aware of what it is, what the signs are and how to report it so that it can be prevented. The club is an integral part of Rochdale and the community and helping to raise awareness of CSE is our way of valuing the young people of this town.”
The Sunrise Team was launched in 2009 and brings together professionals from the police, children's social care, sexual health and Early Break, the substance misuse and abuse service for young people and their families. It works with young people who are at risk at Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), supporting them and pursuing criminal investigations where appropriate.
Leader of Rochdale Council Colin Lambert, added: “Tackling CSE is a top priority for the borough and a great deal of work is being done to prevent the exploitation of children in our community. Getting the support of our football team, Rochdale AFC, will go a long way to raising awareness of the issues and we welcome their involvement.”
Sunrise helps young people who are at risk of being exploited or have experienced exploitation. To date, young people have been referred to the service via the police and other partners, and agencies have promoted Sunrise as their ‘front line’ to combat child sexual exploitation.
It also campaigns to make the public aware of the signs of child sexual exploitation and engages with local community and leisure groups as well as sporting establishments such as Rochdale AFC to spread the word.
Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner, Tony Lloyd, said: “We’ve all seen the devastating consequences that this particularly vile form of sexual abuse has on communities, not just in Rochdale but across Greater Manchester and, indeed, the country.
“Rochdale has led the way in confronting this issue head-on but we will only defeat the groomers if we all work together. Rochdale AFC deserves this award because the club has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with police, Rochdale Council, other agencies and the local community in support of our young people. This is a complex and heart-rending issue and the club has shown real leadership that sets a real example so I warmly congratulate them on receiving this award."