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Schools back! Staff at Safetyworks! gear up for a busy autumn term

6th September 2018

School’s back! That means staff at an innovative safety centre which teaches children about crime prevention and keeping safe by involving them in real-life scenarios are gearing up for a busy autumn term.

This September will see the North East Safetyworks! open its doors to scores more young people and community groups from across the area, in an effort to continue its highly-commended work in promoting personal safety and positive actions.

Based in Newcastle’s West End, the centre was extensively refurbished in 2016 and has become increasingly popular among young people for its realistic lessons and interactive training geared at informing them of crime trends relevant to them.

The facility was established by, and is managed by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, working in partnership with Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Northumbria Police, Nexus, St John’s Ambulance and Sainsbury’s.

Police Community Support Officer Nichola Bone, Safeguarding Community Advisor based at Safetyworks, said: “We are so excited that the new school term has begun and our timetable is already jam-packed with groups who are excited to come and see what Safetyworks! is all about.

“We pride ourselves on offering young people a learning environment like no other in the area and our life-sized safety town helps bring our sessions to life so we can really engage pupils and help them identify crimes trends which might affect them and their friends.”

Police Community Support Officer Claire Jones, another Safeguarding Community Advisor, added: “We work hard with all our classes to teach them about healthy friendships and relationships, to stay safe online, and to call out and report dangerous or reckless behaviour when they see it. We understand that children will not ditch their devices, so we teach them to be safe while using them.”

The dedicated advisors are also keen to offer online advice and guidance to parents this time of year to help reinforce their online safety message.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird QC, said: “Safetyworks! has a vital role to play in teaching young people how to stay safe and is a fantastic opportunity for them to learn about issues that directly impact them. It’s great that we have this facility in Northumbria and I encourage everyone to get involved and take advantage of these workshops.”

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther said: “These real-life scenarios will help school children be aware of the dangers of the internet and provide them with the knowledge of where to get help if they need it. It’s important that children feel safe whether that’s at school, when they are out with their friends or using social media and the internet.

“Cyberbullying and online grooming does happen, collectively we need to address this, to support and educate the child, parent and family and show young people that it is taken seriously. It’s really important that all agencies collaborate to share our knowledge and experiences so that we can help children who might find themselves in these situations.

“We hope the children who take part in these lessons can share the safety messages with their friends and families.”

The work carried out by Safetyworks! was highlighted in the annual State of Policing report, compiled by Sir Tom Windsor, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary, earlier this year for its successful and multi-agency approach to safety.