SkillZONE receives £10K grant to improve young people’s safety
By Sophie Ladd
Funding from Great Western Railway will be used to upgrade a rail simulator in Gloucester aimed at improving children's safety at level crossings.
Prevention and safety education for all ages is offered by Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) through its SkillZONE facility in Tuffley, Gloucester.
SkillZONE is an interactive, life-size indoor village with home, community, road and cyber zones.
The £10,000 upgrade will transform the rail scenario inside its life skills village, with moving level crossing barriers and enhanced special train and weather effects.
The funding will also allow SkillZONE to target schools in Gloucestershire that are near railway stations, rail lines or level crossings so they can be invited to attend.
Since opening in 2012, the facility has welcomed 44,800 visitors and delivered more than 1,670 educational sessions, with young people learning about making safer choices in different scenarios whether at home, while travelling or taking part in activities.
Visit https://skillzone.glosfire.gov.uk for information about booking a group session for schools and community groups.
Councillor Dave Norman, cabinet member with responsibility for the Fire and Rescue Service, said: "SkillZONE helps us to promote community safety and reduce serious injuries and deaths in homes, at work and in local areas. I'd like to thank Great Western Railway for providing this funding as it will enable us to update our rail scenario with moving level crossing barriers - therefore providing an improved and more realistic experience for all of our visitors."
Madeleine Jarrett, SkillZONE manager, said: "SkillZONE offers more than just an interesting school or community group trip; the lessons young people learn in our interactive village could be lifesaving for all ages, helping us stay safe around water, roads, train stations, trespassing on level crossings/lines and our own homes. We also introduce young people to the consequences of offending and unsafe online activity.
"SkillZONE helps young people recognise dangers and dilemmas in everyday situations and empowers them to make good choices about their own safety. Young people will be asked to consider the consequences of anti-social behaviour and youth offending, including trespassing, and how this can affect their future. This funding will enable us to update the rail scenario with moving level crossing barriers, as at present they are fixed and not realistic."
Emma Morris, community manager at Great Western Railway, said: "We have a specific pot of money designed to help support schools, colleges and community or other not-for-profit organisations. SkillZONE provides a vital service, helping young people to make good choices about their own safety, so we are pleased to be able to offer this funding."
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