It's official - KOGS are making a huge difference in Oldham

Reporter: Simon Smedley
Date published: 30 November 2018

Staff and volunteers at Oldham-based Keeping Our Girls Safe (KOGS), a registered charity working with children and young people to educate about unhealthy relationships, child sexual exploitation (CSE), grooming and risks, are celebrating a glowing, first-ever independent evaluation report.

Dr Peter Unwin, from the University of Worcester, was commissioned to gather evidence and evaluate the impact the KOGS’ headquarters in Oldham has made over the past six months, and his now-released report reveals that it is definitely making a huge difference in the area.

KOGS aims to empower girls to have confidence and self-esteem, and to inspire them to make positive life choices.

Established in 2011, KOGS was set up to address the gaps in the service provision available to young people around prevention and early intervention by educating young people on unhealthy relationships and supporting those that had been groomed or exploited in a holistic way.

KOGS are based in the centre of Oldham and work across Greater Manchester. Almost 200 girls have sought help from Hayley and the team this year alone.

Their work is outreach as they believe that young people work better in familiar environments.

KOGS work in schools, colleges, youth centres and within communities.

Hayley Harewood, who runs the KOGS charity base in Oldham, said: “I’m so proud of all the staff and volunteers here. We’ve come such a long way since 2011.

“It’s been a fantastic journey for us all, and this is just the icing on the cake.”

As well as Hayley, Dr Unwin, and other officers and volunteers who celebrated the report publication at a special event yesterday (Thursday), Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams was on hand to offer her support.

Mrs Abrahams told the Chronicle: “One of my priorities is making sure that we keep our young women safe, so I’m delighted that Hayley and the volunteers at KOGS have been recognised this way.

“We need groups like KOGS. Two women each week die at the hands of their partners or ex-partners so any group that can support women and girls in this way needs to be applauded and supported.

“These types of groups definitely help with the recovery of women and girls from all types of exploitation, but also they help them to stand on their own two feet and take their lives forward.”

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