Youngsters learn to stay safe


More than 1,200 children from primary schools across Wealden will learn about risk and safety first-hand thanks to an innovative series of sessions laid on by Wealden District Council.

The council’s two Safety in Action weeks start next month.

Blue light services and transport providers join the council to provide two weeks of events to give year six primary pupils the chance to experience hazard scenarios in a safe and secure environment.

The kind of situations which are recreated include staying safe on the roads, personal safety, looking after someone who has been injured, reporting an arson attack, safety on railway lines (vital given the number of level crossings in the Wealden area,) taking care with alcohol, ensuring you can stay safe around water, what dangers to look out for on a farm - and how to get out of trouble.

Wealden’s organiser Sophie Hepworth said: “We have been running Safety in Action for 24 years.

“These hands-on active learning events really help the children retain important messages about what to do in difficult situations and build personal confidence that cannot be instilled by watching a promotional video. I am pleased to see other organisations are adopting this approach to help educate and inform more young people.”

The first Safety in Action Week will be held at the Bowles Outdoor Centre near Eridge and runs from Monday, June 6 to Friday, June 12.

The second Safety in Action Week will be held at Herstmonceux Castle from from Monday, June 29 to Friday, July 3. Both venues have generously allowed the use of their facilities free of charge, and funding for the events is provided by the Safer Wealden Partnership. Among the partners working with Wealden are Sussex Police, South East Coast Ambulance, East Sussex Fire and Rescue, Southern Railway, Freedom Leisure and NHS school nurses. Uckfield Lions club is sponsoring an award for the school which gains the most points in the safety scenaries and Servomex, Crowborough sponsor a special award for road safety. Each child is presented with a workbook to take back to school to reinforce the safety messages that have been learnt.

Every year, in June , Wealden co-ordinates these ‘hands on’ teaching events for over 1000 children.

The project has been successfully running in Wealden for 23 years. The scenarios that the children have to deal with also replicate dangerous situations they might face in real life.

The Council facilitates the events and there’s a competition element with the school obtaining the highest mean score winning a prize. There is also a special road safety award sponsored by Servomex in memory of Lawrence Reeve, a young boy who was sadly killed on a Wealden road.