Heathfield students help keep drivers safe this winter

Heathfield Community College 6th form road safety campaign with Harriet Hadley and Kieran Karn
Heathfield Community College 6th form road safety campaign with Harriet Hadley and Kieran Karn

Keeping safe on the roads - particularly during dark, wet or icy winter evenings - is a top priority for young people in Wealden.

Now sixth form students from Heathfield Community College are swapping words for action by visiting local shops and offices, distributing flyers and encouraging people to sign up to an online pledge.

On Wednesday morning students from years 12 and 13 walked up and down Heathfield High Street to hand out the flyers and urge traders and shoppers to take their concerns seriously. They set up a working rota to hand out the information.

Among the businesses which have agreed to put up posters are Costa Coffee, the Co-op and Sainsbury’s. And the students have put together a short video which will be promoted via social media. Parents of students have also been told about the initiative to help spread the word.

They also called in to Heathfield Fire Station where they met representatives from fire, ambulance and police services to promote their community campaign.

Barry Howard, head of sixth form, said: “This was their own idea. What they aim to do is encourage people to make sure they drive without distractions.

“The sort of thing we are talking about is using a mobile phone (even glancing at the screen), eating a sandwich, turning round to talk to a passenger or children - all these things disturb a driver’s concentration and are the cause of horrendous accidents.

“Some of them are also starting to drive themselves and it’s in everybody’s interest that young people should concentrate on their driving techniques when road conditions might be difficult.”

Chris Vigor, from the college, added: “In view of recent stories in the media regarding accidents we feel this is a worthwhile campaign.”

Justin Goodchild, from ESFRS, said: “The students will be actively getting people to sign a pledge to help people in Heathfield work together to improve road safety.

“We have also worked with the students to build a pledge board to be put on the grass outside Heathfield Fire Station. People will be able to sign this board over the next six months.

“It’s fantastic to win the support of youngsters in the town because, statistically, young people (between 17-24) are more likely to be involved in a road accident, whether a driver or a passenger. So, being able to work with young people is a great opportunity to get our message out.”