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Helping women and girls be safe and feel safe in their communities will be the focus of free self-defence classes in Telford.

The classes are being delivered as part of the Safer and Stronger Communities Project, which is led by Telford & Wrekin Council in partnership with PCC John Campion. Telford & Wrekin Council have contributed £2 million to the overall project, with an additional £500,000 invested from the PCC, over the next two years.

Up to 50 attendees will be taught the modern close quarter combative (CQC) method of self-defence, developed by military, police and martial arts practitioners which prepares people for real life encounters. The sessions are being delivered by volunteers, and Hollinswood and Randlay Parish Council is providing the venue free of charge.

PCC John Campion said: “Violence against women and girls is one of the biggest concerns in our society today. These sessions are just one example of how I am investing, in partnership with Telford & Wrekin Council, to give people some skills and confidence to be and feel safer.

“There is always more that can be done, and I continue to invest in victim services, hold the Chief Constable accountable to ensure tackling this issue is a priority and by working in communities to change unacceptable behaviours in our society.”

Cabinet Member for Stronger and Safer Communities, Councillor Paul Watling (Lab), said: “We want all women in our community to have access to self-defence sessions. We know that some women’s feelings nationally about fear are so habitual that they have become normalised. 

“As a council we are making sure there is practical support for women, helping reduce feelings of anxiety and boosting confidence while also working closely with Police as we know the pandemic and cost of living crisis all impact on crime.

“Self-defence classes provide a safe place and expert support, allowing women and girls to explore new techniques – it’s not always about physical strength and there are lots of ways to avoid situations or deescalate a confrontation.”

Volunteer Bill Gilmour, who leads the sessions, said: “A lot of it is about building confidence, giving women the power to not be victims, regardless of their age, strength, size or fitness.

“After just three sessions, we have already noticed a big difference in confidence, awareness and ability.”

The sessions will take place at Randlay Community Centre from 6.30pm – 8.30pm over a course of three weeks beginning Wednesday 14th September, to all women and girls aged 12 plus.

For more information and to register your interest click here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/free-womens-self-defence-course-3-week-course-tickets-399441409007