One of the most straightforward thing churches can do to support young people’s safety in your community is to have a space that young people can come and hang out in between the hours of 3pm and 6pm.

Why ‘Safe Spaces After School’?

Evidence shows young people at greater risk of exploitation and violence between 3pm and 10pm on school days.

As young people leave school and socialise, buy food, and/or travel home, this is often the most dangerous time for them to encounter fights, gang rivalry and potential grooming.

Often their parents or carers are not home until later in the evening.

As an alternative we know some churches have chosen to open up their buildings during this vital window of time, once a week or more.

Why the church?

  • Churches often have buildings in key locations near local secondary schools. They may even have direct links with Church of England schools in their community.
  • Churches can act as “neutral” spaces that are neither related to the school nor owned by any one group or another (such as parks, fast food places or other hangouts).
  • Young people may not have a space quiet space at home to do their homework which churches can sometimes offer.
  • churches can offer the chance of building relationship with other trusted adults that are not parents or teachers. Some churhes even offer mentoring schemes and this is the point at which the young person meets their mentor.

What does a Safe Space involve?

It needs to be free to access, and there need to be at least two trusted and safeguarding trained/DBS checked adults around at all times.

Beyond that, it really depends on the space and facilities, and the vision of the church.

  • Some churches offer hot drinks/snacks (hot chocolate a particular favourite!)
  • Some churches offer homework support, or a space for young people who want to do their homework
  • Some offer chill out spaces, games, and other activities
  • Some offer other organisations space to come  eg mentoring, local health initiatives, employment pathways etc

It’s important that the church has thought about how to ensure good safeguarding practices in this space, and a behaviour policy for when young people use the space, including a plan if there is any conflict. If you would like more help with this, please get in touch. 


Which churches are running Safe Spaces that I could go and look at?

A few examples are below. If you are running a Safe space and could be featured here as an example- let us know!