Alfie’s Story, one of the most successful films from the Not in our community campaign, is officially one year old today.
In the six years, we have managed Not in our community, the campaign has developed a lot over the years, now being a widely known awareness campaign around grooming and sexual exploitation with an 80% recall rate amongst young people in Hull, East Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire. Young people have told us that the NIOC campaign has helped them spot the signs and even potentially prevented something happening to themselves or their friends. On top of that, NIOC has empowered young people who have been victims of grooming and exploitation to tell their stories through the platform, which we then convert into visual stories for social media or films.
We started production for Alfie’s Story after been tasked by local authorities to use recent intelligence and victims accounts to tell the story of a young teen in North/North East Lincolnshire who is groomed and exploited by a County Lines (a form of Child Criminal Exploitation) operation in the area.
The film picked up momentum with local media including television coverage through ITV Calendar and featuring as the lead story on BBC Look North on the day the film launched. Momentum kept building and after a few months, Alfie’s Story had gone viral on YouTube, reaching over one million views earlier this year.
We are extremely proud of Alfie’s Story, so as a little celebration of the one year anniversary of the launch of Alfie’s Story, we’ve created a short video with five facts you may not know about Alfie’s Story:
The film contains direct quotes and accounts from real victims of exploitation
During the initial planning stages, the head writer worked in quotes from a young people’s art project through which they described what being exploited felt like. Victims of criminal exploitation also helped make sure the story was accurate by sharing everything from how the hierarchy of the gangs worked to what type of phone would be used as a burner. The script was picked apart with a fine-toothed comb to ensure its accuracy for the time and location of events.
Actor Tommy Turgoose helped make the film
Famed for his This Is England role as Shaun, as well as appearing in Game of Thrones and Kingsman: The Golden Circle amongst other well-known films and TV shows, Tommy was heavily involved with Alfie’s Story. Tommy is from and still lives in North East Lincolnshire and cares a great deal about the community, never straying far from his roots.
The casting was inspired by Tommy’s own experience
The cast of Alfie’s Story is made up of people from Grimsby and the surrounding area. Over 200 auditionees turned up as casting venues, just to have a chat and show their personality to the casting directors. Tommy’ own story of being cast in This is England is that he came across the open casting at a community centre, signed up for an audition and asked for a fiver from the casting director in return for taking part. The casting director thought he was perfect for the role just based on attitude and personality, and the same happened for Alfie’s Story for many of the cast.
Grimsby, where the film is set, is no stranger to real stories like Alfie’s
The team who produced Alfie’s Story often work co-create films with young people. Many young people from North East Lincolnshire (where Alfie’s story is set) have watched the film and have expressed concern that they know other people who are involved in gangs and exploitation of some kind. It’s a devastating thing to hear, so campaigns like Not in our community are working with partners to try to help more victims.
Alfie’s Story is mild in comparison to what really happens to victims
Young people who have been victims of criminal exploitation were invited to the premiere screening and praised the film for its realism, although had fed back that actually many of the things depicted in the film were timid in comparison to what happens in real life.
You can still watch Part 1 of Alfie’s Story below or the full film over on YouTube and on our Facebook page, along with other films produced by the Not in our community campaign.