A Keighley charity has been awarded funding for a project to protect young people from online exploitation and bullying.

Hand in Hand, based in Russell Street, will implement the education and prevention programme across Craven.

And, if successful, the initiative could be extended to the whole of North Yorkshire.

A £20,000 grant has been provided from the community fund of North Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Julia Mulligan.

“I established the fund in May last year to empower local groups to take action to help their communities be and feel safer, and I am proud to support this project,” she said.

“Online grooming and bullying is a great concern to most parents, many of whom feel they don’t know enough about the issue to protect their children.

“Hand in Hand arms children with the knowledge and resources needed to keep themselves safe and to recognise unsafe situations online.

“The project will be run in close co-operation with local schools, and we will closely monitor its success.”

Hand in Hand – established in 2008 – supports young people who have been exploited, groomed or bullied, and helps prevent victimisation.

The Craven project aims to target more than 1,000 young people in mainstream schools and 50 within children’s homes, alternative education providers and pupil referral units.

The scheme will include a ‘protective behaviour programme’ for primary schools, focusing on Year 6 pupils who are moving up to secondary school.

It will cover safe and unsafe relationships, and provide young-sters with information about support networks.

Since the launch of the community fund, £237,000 has been awarded to support projects that promote safety and reduce harm across the county.

Groups can apply for grants of between £500 and £20,000. Other schemes involving Craven that have won support include ‘Build a Bike’, which enables youth club members to build serviceable bikes from spare parts and unclaimed stolen machines, and ‘Your Voice’, an advocacy service for black and minority ethnic communities.

Visit northyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk for further information about the fund.