Fund and Safety days are certainly fun - but while they provide a ton of entertainment for youngsters and their families, all the excitement is just a smart way to deliver a very serious message.
Held this year in Hailsham, Uckfield and Crowborough, the events aimed to give children vital information about how to stay safe.
Cllr Claire Dowling, Wealden’s cabinet member for public health and community safety said: “This is vital of course, and the purpose of the event, but more importantly they always have a great time. They are a great example of events the council organises with partner organisations to keep our communities safe and healthy.”
The first Fun and Safety day was held at the Hailsham East Children’s Centre, Vega Close, Hailsham on January 28. This was followed by last week’s day hosted at Uckfield Fire Station while this week the teams were once again in action at Crowborough Fire Station on Wednesday, April 8.
Uckfield’s gallant firecrews gave youngsters the chance to find out what it is like to be a firefighter by sitting in the driving seat of a fire engine. The children then joined forces with Sussex Police by climbing into a police car.
There was a simulated fire and car rescue and attractions like a children’s entertainer, badge making, crafts and tons of giant outdoor games.
Fun and Safety days were free and open to all in all three towns. Partners included East Sussex Fire and Rescue; Sussex Police; Freedom Leisure (operators of leisure centres in the towns;) Active Play and Wealden Children’s Centres and focused on encouraging children to stay safe and healthy. There were also opportunities for families and carers to benefit from East Sussex Fire and Rescue offering the opportunity to take advantage of free home safety fire checks.
Fun and Safety was free and open to all, Partners for the Fun and Safety Days include East Sussex Fire and Rescue, Sussex Police, Freedom Leisure, Active Play, Waitrose, (which has stores in all three towns;) Booker & Best and Wealden Children Centres.
Cllr Dowling added: “It was good to be at Uckfield Fire Station again where the children, parents and carers were able to experience first hand the life-saving expertise of our colleagues in the emergency services. I am sure it provided a morning of fun and excitement in the Easter holidays for everyone taking part, and they will go home having picked up some basic safety skills which they can share in the future. It was good that children in all three towns got the chance to go along too.”
An impressive total of 709 people attended the Uckfield Fun and Safety Day.
Wealden organiser Sophie Hepworth said: “Our thanks go to everyone who worked so hard making it a success - and the Safer Wealden Partnership which kindly provided the funding. It was a fantastic example of partnership working.”
A simulated car rescue by the firefighters proved very popular, as did a simulated chip pan fire which provided a good example of some of the hazards that can lurk in the kitchen and people often have no idea how to deal with them.
Parents and carers were given the opportunity to try using a mobile phone of a car driving simulator which brought home the dangers and lack of concentration involved if you try to text when you are driving.
One parent commented: “Until I used the driving simulator I had never thought how dangerous texting could be when driving. It certainly something I am never going to do again.”
One of the highlights from the craft event was making fluorescent streamers which can safely be streamed after bicycles, making them much more visible. Refreshments on all three days were provided by Waitrose. Stepping Stones Nursery also had a refreshment stall serving delicious snacks and food which proved a great fund raiser for the nursery.
As one happy parent said afterwards: “It is great to be able to attend a free event in the school holidays where the children enjoy themselves and learn something as well.”
Each year new safety issues arise and the teams dealing take these on board. This year mention was made at Hailsham of the potential danger for to young children from window blind cords. A limited number of free blind cleats - fitted to the window frame - were given away.
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