VIRTUAL and socially distanced meetings were held as part of a Somerset focused community day.

Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) John Smith met with Somerset Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), Lisa from Escapeline (social workers who specialise in child exploitation) and Craig and Julia from Youth Unlimited.

Mr Smith said: “It’s always a pleasure to meet with VRUs to find out how our investment into serious violence is making a real difference to young people in our communities.

“The team has had to go above and beyond to adapt in order to continue to keep our communities safe from violent crime in the midst of the global health pandemic."

During the meeting with Somerset VRU, Mr Smith, Public Health, NHS, police and other key partners discussed issues facing local people, the impact of lockdown on young people in the community and how working together is essential to tackle serious violence in our communities.

“I am in awe of the fantastic work taking place,” added Mr Smith.

“With limited resources and funding, organisations are still supporting vulnerable young people in need.

“As we continue to find our way through the global pandemic, I know that these charities and organisations will be absolutely necessary in supporting our young people into the ‘new normal’.”

The Deputy PCC encouraged both Escapeline and Youth Unlimited to apply for funding from the Commissioners Community Action Fund (CCAF).

By listening to these representatives, Mr Smith can ensure that all voices are heard in both council and policing meetings in attempt to find better solutions to issues that are facing local people and charity organisations during these challenging times.