LINE of Duty stars Vicky McClure and Daniel Mays have teamed up to help raise funds for a vital new programme being run by the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Foundation based at Warrington peace centre.
The charity, set up after the 1993 bombing of Warrington, that claimed the lives of 12-year-old Tim Parry and three-year-old Johnathan Ball, is currently helping 14 primary schools across Liverpool and Warrington struggling with the impact of Covid-19 on pupil behaviour.
The Peace Foundation launched the Steps Programme after identifying psychological issues in nine and ten-year-old children linked to the pandemic, who could face exclusion from mainstream education without intervention.
The Steve Morgan Foundation funded the first year of the programme with a grant of £146,950 from the Community Match Challenge Fund but the charity is looking for fresh funding for year two.
Their campaign has been boosted by the appearance of McClure and Mays in a new eight-minute video promoting the work of the Steps Programme.
McClure is best known as Kate Fleming in the BBC’s smash hit crime drama Line of Duty and appeared alongside Mays in series three, when he played Danny Waldron.
The duo became patrons of the Peace Foundation when they also starred together in the BBC drama Mother’s Day, which depicts the story of two mothers brought together in the wake of the Warrington bombing. They both visited the Peace centre for a premiere of the drama, after being inspired by the work of Tim’s parents Colin and Wendy Parry.
Mays, who is an English theatre, TV and screen actor, said: “I am a father of two young children and the Covid-19 pandemic has been a real challenge for all of us, particularly for families and children.
“The pandemic has had a significant negative impact on the economy, health, and social care; exacerbated by the subsequent and continuing public health restrictions.
“The Steps Programme is not just helping children, and their families, it is also supporting school heads, leadership teams, teachers, and governors in coping and recovering.
“It is a vital programme that deserves support, and, in this film, you will hear what the programme is about and from some of the people who are taking part.”
The Steps Programme works mainly with primary schools in very challenged areas such as inner cities.
The Liverpool City Region was the first to enter tier three lockdown and as schools were forced to close their doors, the problems in families and neighbourhoods spiralled.
When the schools did reopen staff realised that some children were showing signs of trauma and struggling to cope – and the Steps Programme was launched.
The initiative equips children with conflict resolution skills and builds their confidence, as well as giving access to vital support in schools.
It promotes social and emotional skills in primary school children to help them in their transition into secondary school and adolescence. Steps also provides vital trauma informed training to teachers.
Nick Taylor, chief executive of the Peace Foundation, said: “The funding to do this work only lasts a year, and yet this work is needed now more than ever. The work can only continue with financial support.
“Recovering from the pandemic will take a long time, but the Steps Programme is helping to make that happen. The film is an appeal, supported by Vicky and Daniel, to encourage financial support to continue this work and I would ask everyone to watch and share it widely, and consider financially supporting this work to continue in primary schools.”
The film, which can be viewed above, has been made by former BBC North West Tonight chief reporter Dave Guest.