Press release

Think! teams up with Sunderland AFC to keep children safe on the roads

Sundeland AFC works on child safety campaign in new partnership.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


An innovative new partnership between the THINK! child road safety campaign and Sunderland AFC Foundation has been launched this week.

Sunderland AFC Foundation will use its after-school clubs and activities in schools and on match days to help youngsters learn about road safety with THINK!’s Tales of the Road materials.

The new initiative will focus on helping 6 to 11-year-olds learn how to find safe places to cross the road after evidence showed that this is a key factor in helping children stay safe on the roads.

Road Safety Minister, Mike Penning, said:

Britain’s roads are among the safest in the world but last year more than 1,600 children were killed or seriously injured - that’s 31 children every week.

We need to think of new ways to reach children and make sure that they are given the skills they need to keep themselves safe on the roads as they grow up and gain independence.

That is why I am delighted to announce that THINK! is teaming up with Sunderland AFC Foundation to help get the message across through community work, after-school clubs, match day activities, competitions and other work. I hope that this scheme will see more children gain in knowledge and confidence so that we will see fewer tragedies on the roads.

Lesley Spuhler, CEO of Sunderland AFC Foundation said: “The Club and the Foundation is an active and important part of the local community in Sunderland and we are delighted to be supporting the THINK! Safer Places to Cross campaign and helping to teach children how to keep themselves safe when crossing the road.”

Les Clark, Head of Street Scene at Sunderland City Council, said:

We know from our work in local schools just how important it is to give children the knowledge and skills they need to make sure they know how to cross the road safely. Campaigns like THINK! can only help reduce the number of incidents that happen because children make poor choices about where to cross or are unaware how to keep themselves safe.

The four clubs taking part in the new pilot project - Sunderland AFC, Blackburn Rovers, Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion - are all based in regions where there are higher than average casualty numbers for children aged 6 to 11. This work will be supported by local road safety officers and council road safety programmes.

In addition, THINK! will distribute exercise books with road safety activities to primary schools across the country in January 2011

Notes to editors

The safe place to cross toolkit will be available on the Tales of the Road website along with other resources, for wider community groups to get involved (eg youth clubs) and support the campaign.

The data informing this campaign showed “crossing road masked by stationary or parked vehicle” and “failed to look properly” are among the biggest contributory factors reported for child (6 to 11s) pedestrian KSIs. It was such insight that guided our decision to prioritise the Safe Place to Cross message.

KSI rates per 100,000 6 to 11 year old population by region:

  • North East 23.8
  • North West 30.3
  • Yorkshire 25.3
  • Midlands 18.7
  • London 18.5
  • South East 12.9
  • East England 12.3
  • South West 11.5

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Published 23 November 2010