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SkillZONE celebrates 1st birthday

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As SkillZONE marks its first birthday, figures show that more than 100 children have visited the county’s safety education centre every week during the school year.

The centre – a mock village that gives groups the chance to experience 16 real-life safety scenarios – was officially launched on 1st February last year and, since it opened:

  •  Classes from a third of the primary schools in the county have toured the facility;
  • Another 15,000 local people have attended events and training;
  • Courses have been run on issues including advanced motorcycle training, cycle training, speed awareness and school crossing patrols

To mark SkillZONE’s first birthday, cake was shared with classes from Oakridge Parochial School and Bisley Blue Coat CofE Primary School in Stroud, following a tour of the centre.

Maria Boon, head of prevention at Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We are delighted that so many schools and community groups across the county have taken up the opportunity to learn our vital safety lessons.”

“Young people’s safety is at the heart of what we do and SkillZONE is the perfect environment in which to teach it. We will continue to reach out to groups that might benefit from touring the centre – it could be a lifesaver.”

Adam Hanwell, 11, toured the facility with Crudwell Cub Scouts. His dad Tom Hanwell said the visit was particularly eye-opening because they had recently had a fire at home.

Tom said: “We came home to 6ft 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 the SkillZONE tour he had a much better idea of what firefighters and emergency services do. It taught him exactly what to do if he was ever in a similar situation. Our scouts valued the trip so much we will definitely come again.

The centre has also been used for a wide range of community events including Older People�s Month, Black History Month, Child Accident Prevention Week and for safety courses for young mums.

Cllr Will Windsor-Clive, cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure, said: “In the past year, we’ve had countless classes and community groups come through the doors of SkillZONE and nothing but positive feedback.”

“Many who have visited are already looking to return and I hope the centre will continue to go from strength to strength.”

Anyone who would like to know more or book a two hour tour should visit or put a date in their diary to attend a SkillZONE open day on Saturday July 19th.

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