An innovative new partnership between the THINK! child road safety campaign and West Bromwich Albion FC was launched today by children from Galton Valley Primary School in Smethwick.
West Bromwich Albion FC 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 West Bromwich Albion FC to help get the message across through community work, competitions and various other activities in the local schools. I hope that this scheme will see more children gain in knowledge and confidence so that we will see fewer tragedies on the roads.
Over the forthcoming weeks West Bromwich Albion FC will work with ten primary schools across Sandwell, using various fun activities in and out of the classroom to help youngsters learn about road safety with THINK!’s Tales of the Road materials.
Anna Pincher, Education and Learning Development Manager at the West Bromwich Albion Foundation said:
We’ve got lots of great activities in store for kids across Sandwell and are thrilled to be a part of this new THINK! initiative. It’s essential for children’s development that they stay healthy and active. We want to show kids that by following a few basic road safety rules they can avoid road accidents and the consequences associated with them - such as not being able to play the sports or games that they love!
Steve Francis, Road Safety Officer from Sandwell Council, said:
The West Midlands has a higher than average casualty numbers for children aged 6 to 11 involved in pedestrian road traffic accidents. However, interestingly research shows that the problem among children in this age group is not a lack of knowledge, but a failure to put this knowledge into practice. Building on the excellent work our road safety team is already carrying out across the area, this exciting new THINK! initiative uses real world interventions and local examples to encourage children to think about how to put their skills into practice and make them habitual.
The four clubs taking part in the new pilot project - Blackburn Rovers, Leeds United, Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion are all based in regions where there are higher than average casualty numbers for children aged six 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 Killed and Seriously Injured.(KSI). It was such insight that guided our decision to prioritise the Safe Place to Cross message.
The number of KSI casualties in the West Midlands is 18.7 per 100,000 6 to 11 year olds in the region - which is above the national average.
The West Midlands launch of the new THINK! Campaign involved children from Galton Valley Primary School climbing aboard the ‘Walking Baggie Bird Bus’ which was ‘driven’ by the West Bromwich Albion Mascot himself, Baggie Bird, and Sandwell Road Safety Officers. Together the walking bus explored the best and worst places to cross the road and gave children the chance to put their road safety knowledge into practice.