A groundbreaking resource will ensure youngsters in East Sussex will be better protected from extremism.

Think: Protect: Connect will help schools and other youth settings safeguard children and young people from online radicalisation and extremism through a series of workshops, booklets and presentations.

Lucy Spencer, Strategy and Partnership Officer (Safer East Sussex Team) and Prevent Lead in East Sussex said: “Extremism and radicalisation is one of the most important national and global issues of our time. This new resource will help those working with children and young people provide a safe space to explore the sensitive and controversial questions.

“By increasing awareness, understanding and knowledge of the issue, children and young people will be better equipped to think critically when confronted by online propaganda frequently used by extremist groups.”

Designed with direct input from children, young people and teaching staff, Think: Protect: Connect aims to;

• develop children and young people’s personal resilience to extremism and radicalisation
• challenge the myths, misconceptions and stereotypes held by children and young people around individuals and groups
• equip children and young people with critical thinking skills to empower them to explore and challenge sensitive topics including myths about race, racism, the use of online propaganda and extremist ideologies
• increase children and young people’s awareness, knowledge and understanding of radicalisation and extremism and its causes
• enable children and young people to gain a number of transferable life skills including digital resilience and critical thinking skills that they can draw on in the future

The toolkit has been introduced to professionals at a number of training sessions and will be delivered to students at schools and colleges around East Sussex.

The resource was officially launched by East Sussex Safer Communities Partnership at a training event at Hailsham Academy this November. It has been funded by Safer East Sussex, East Sussex County Council Sussex Police, Eastbourne Borough Council, Rother District Council, Hastings Borough Council, Lewes District Council and Wealden District Council, and will be used by schools and other youth settings.

Schools and youth settings interested in finding out more about Think: Protect: Connect can email lucy.spencer@eastsussex.gov.uk