Concerned about the number of drug-related offences being committed by young people in Bradford, a local Magistrate, the then President of Soroptimist International of Bradford, became interested in exploring the possibility of drug prevention activities.
A Senior Police officer was approached who pledged support for a volunteer service. After several conversations, a number of Rotary Clubs local to Bradford showed interest in supporting an Initiative and before long five Rotary Clubs, Soroptimist International of Bradford and West Yorkshire Police were working together to develop a scheme.
An innovative approach to drug prevention was sought and it was thought that the concept of “Drug-Free Zones” as pioneered in the City’s pubs and clubs by Bradford Drugswatch could be transferred directly to schools in the district.
However, because a school is a dynamic and open entity, involving so much more than a simple ‘night-Club’ building where access is much easier to control, it was clear that the concept of a “drug-free zone” required some re-appraisal.
The then West Yorkshire Police Community Service Officer was invited to consultative meetings, following which a ‘Charter Initiative’ was proposed, which would seek to motivate schools to positively address drug prevention issues.
All parties accepted the idea with enthusiasm and Soroptimist International of Bradford and the five Bradford Rotary clubs immediately pledged funds, and together with West Yorkshire Police, volunteered active support to launch and service the Initiative.
By early 1996, three Bradford Upper schools, acting as ‘trial’ schools, had undertaken the application and assessment process – also offering advice and guidance – which allowed for effective evaluation of the procedures and practices of the Charter Award. The three schools achieved positive assessments and subsequently received the first Charter Awards (covering a period of three years) at a ceremony in Bradford City Hall attended, in addition to Rotarians and Soroptimists, by the Deputy Lord Mayor and Senior Officers of the West Yorkshire Police. The event attracted high media interest and significant press coverage.
Many Charter Certificates have since been awarded to schools which have met the relevant criteria and today the Award enjoys continued support from Soroptimist International, Rotary International, West Yorkshire Police, and many others.
BSDPI has now come of age, and as we enter our 25th year we are proud to have launched a brand new website which has been carefully designed to highlight the fundamental principles of the Initiative, and the wide-ranging benefits which can be derived from the Awards process.
In the new digital age, each ‘Awarded’ school can be extremely proud of its achievement, and is supported with a BSDPI ‘e-badge’ for use in all its electronic communications throughout the Charter period.
Our website showcases success stories and awards, and provides all the information that schools, parents and public alike might need to fully understand the award process and what it stands for.