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Celebrating 1 year of keeping Gloucestershire safe

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As Gloucestershire’s only safety education centre celebrates its first official birthday on February 1st 2014 figures show around 100 children a week have visited SkillZONE during the school year.

SkillZONE is a state-of-the-art village which gives people of all ages the chance to experience 16 real life scenarios, each designed to teach them how to recognise a range of dangerous situations such as on the road, in water, at home or online.

Based in Gloucester, the centre’s main visitor is schools with one in three primary schools in the county benefiting from a trip to SkillZONE since it opened.  Another 15,000 local people have attended SkillZONE events or used the building facilities.

To mark its first birthday balloons and cake will be given to Oakridge Primary School and Bisley Blue Coat Primary School on Thursday January 30th after their SkillZONE tour.

Maria Boon, Head of Prevention at Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, said; “We are delighted to reach this milestone and to be providing access to safety education to Gloucestershire.”

“Young people’s safety is at the heart of what we do and although there are more schools and community groups we would like to reach, I believe we are on the right track. If you haven’t been to SkillZONE, please put a date in your diary to come along to our open day on Saturday July 19th2014.”

A visit to SkillZONE with Crudwell Cub Scouts was particularly meaningful for Adam Hanwell, 11, who had recently experienced a house fire. His father Tom Hanwell says; “We came home to six foot flames coming out of the chimney and all the emergency services were there. It was completely alien to my son and he couldn’t understand it.”

“At the end of SkillZONE he knew and respected what the fire fighters and emergency services do. It taught him what to do in an emergency and he wouldn’t be afraid to call for help now. Our scouts valued the trip so much we will come again. “

The centre has also been used for a wide range of community events including Older People’s Month, Gangculture Day, Black History Month, a Women in Islam event, Child Accident Prevention Week and safety courses for young mums.

SkillZONE’s partner, Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership, regularly enjoys using the venue to train drivers. It trains over 12,000 drivers each year and many come through the SkillZONE. Courses run at the centre include seminars for lollipop ladies and men, advance motorcycle riding courses, cyclist training, drivers caught using mobile phones, speed awareness courses and hosting special events such as the launch of its annual Anti Drink Drive Campaign or Road Safety Week. 

Used by all walks of life from clubs like Brownies to the Bangladeshi community, the 2 hours tours on safety in SkillZONE’s village are run by volunteers and Stroud Wardens.

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