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Cross party support to teach children road safety skills


Councillors will explore the reintroduction of a scheme that funds the costs for children to learn about road safety at SkillZONE.


At its full council meeting today, councillors unanimously supported the motion, which agreed that the council would explore opportunities to fund the transport and admission costs for students aged 7 to 14 to go to SkillZONE for road safety lessons from September 2019.

SkillZONE is an interactive life skills village where people of all ages can learn how to keep themselves safe in everyday situations and dilemmas. As well as road safety lessons, pupils can learn about safety around water, railways, staying safe online and the consequences of offending.

Unintentional injuries are one of the leading causes of death and serious injury in children, accounting for more than 2 million attendances at A&E each year. Many of these injuries are foreseeable and therefore preventable, especially if children are able to assess risk and think about the consequences of their choices.

Cllr Colin Hay, who proposed the motion, said: “SkillZONE is an excellent facility for Gloucestershire, teaching critical life-skills and road safety awareness to children and young people. However, it is only useful if people are able to attend and we are all too aware how schools, continuing to feel the pinch of austerity, are struggling to fund extra-curricular items.

“As such, I’m absolutely delighted all parties agreed our call to fund schools’ transport and admission to SkillZONE, and I look forward to Cabinet formalising this commitment as soon as possible to keep our children safer on the roads.” 

Cllr Dave Norman, cabinet member for public protection at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “SkillZONE does vital work to educate children about safety in a number of life-like situations. I was part of the team who set up SkillZONE during my time with Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service so I’m delighted to see this important work continue.”

Cllr Lesley Williams, leader of the Labour Group, said: “SkillZONE is a fantastic resource that should be used to its full potential. It allows young people to develop an awareness about the many hazards in life - road safety, safety in the home, staying safe online and much more. Gloucestershire County Council must ensure that this excellent learning opportunity should be made available to all our young people.”

Cllr Rachel Smith, leader of the Green Group, said: “I’m pleased that the council will now ensure more children have access to SkillZONE, and the resources it offers to children and young people. I hope that the county council will also commit to making Gloucestershire’s roads safe for children to enable more walking and cycling, especially to and from school.”

Find out more about SkillZONE here.

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