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National award for Carlisle Mencap

Pictured with the certificate for first prize are L-R: Sheila Gregory, Daniel Campbell, Tim Baty, Rebecca Aitken and the High Sheriff of Cumbria Simon Berry.

A FILM by a Cumbria-based charity highlighting the dangers of mate crime has won a top national award.

Called Tell Someone – What To Do About Mate Crime, a short film produced by Carlisle Mencap’s Independence Studio based at its Grace Little Centre for Children in north Carlisle, it won the coveted first prize at the annual National Crimebeat Awards in London this week.

National Crimebeat is the youth crime prevention charity of the High Sheriffs’ Association of England and Wales and the awards recognise the most innovative and successful crime projects carried out by young people.

Independence Studio members Tim Baty and Rebecca Aitken, together with Carlisle Mencap’s chief executive officer Sheila Gregory and team leader and Independence Studio staff member Daniel Campbell, travelled to London for the awards ceremony and lunch, which also involved a tour of London for all finalists and a trip on the famous London Eye. The High Sheriff of Cumbria Simon Berry, a keen supporter of Carlisle Mencap and who fully endorsed the studio’s finals application, was also at the ceremony to join in the celebrations.

Speaking after the charity had picked up the first prize certificate and the cheque for £1,000, Mrs Gregory said: “We were delighted to win first prize. Our Independence Studio have been nominated for this prestigious national award on four occasions. We have been lucky enough to be second before but this time we won the first prize. I was delighted to be at the awards with some of the team who created the film that won the prize. We presented our work to prevent crime on stage and had an incredible response from the audience, made up of high sheriffs from all over the country, and senior police office, including an assistant commissioner form the Metropolitan Police. I am so proud of the team.

“And the studio members Tim and Rebecca enjoyed a trip around London on an open-top bus and then a ride on the London Eye. So overall it was a wonderful day.”

Tell Someone was produced with the support of the Police Commissioner Peter McCall, Cumbria Constabulary, and Haltwhistle Film Project. It puts the spotlight on mate crime, when someone befriends a vulnerable person with the intention of exploiting them financially, physically or sexually.

It is the latest in a series of films produced by the Independence Studio. The disabled members create the products by taking the lead in script writing, filmmaking and acting. Other short animated films include topics like voting and healthy eating, but the studio has also tackled more serious issues. The dangers of sexual exploitation was featured in a film called Is It Ok?. Meanwhile last year, Take Control focused on hate crime and that film was supported by the police and the Home Office.

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