All posts tagged: SkillZONE

SkillZONE celebrates two years of safety advice success

Gloucester education centre SkillZONE celebrated championing its safety lessons to almost 15,000 visitors when it turned two years old on February 1st.

The newest safety centre in the country has a fun interactive village where groups experience realistic dangerous scenarios in a number of different locations during a two hour tour.

Since opening its doors SkillZONE has given safety tours to thousands of young people and welcomed more than 375 schools from across the county.

The number of visitors is on the up as well with the centre hosting 2,000 more visitors this year than last year.

It has also run a range of training courses for the local community including advanced motorcycle training, cycle training, first aid, speed awareness, cyber safety and school crossing patrols.

As well as training it has also been used to host a wide variety of events such as the Anti Drink Drive campaign launch, Older Peoples Month and earlier this week a Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony.

SkillZONE has seen an increase in primary school trips in its second year due to Gloucestershire County Council funding free safety tours for Year 5 pupils.

From this funding 2,623 pupils from 144 primary schools have benefited from lessons on road, home and fire safety along with a range of other scenarios such as how to stay safe at the beach or when using a bus.

Cllr Will Windsor-Clive, cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure, said: “I’m delighted that our county’s only safety centre has gone from strength to strength in the past two years. I encourage more schools and community groups to visit this excellent facility and learn about the life saving lessons that it can offer.”

SkillZONE manager Donna Potts said: “I believe we have made a significant difference to the safety of young people and their families since opening. It is always rewarding to hear how the visitors learn from volunteers during a tour.

“I’m proud that we are using volunteers from the local community to keep the people of Gloucestershire safe.”

In a survey of 120 Year 5 primary teachers in Gloucestershire, 82% said their pupils would be safer ‘to a great extent’ following their visit, 95% per cent said they were ‘very satisfied’ with their experience and 91% said they would ‘definitely’ visit again.


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Fire service marks Holocaust Memorial Day

Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service will be hosting a Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) event on January 27th 2015 which this year marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

The commemorative ceremony will be held from 10:30am – 12:30am at its safety education centre, SkillZONE in Gloucester on Tuffley Avenue, GL4 0AS.

SkillZONE will be passing a ceramic HMD baton to St Peter’s RC High School which was designed by students from the National Star College. It was created to provide a tangible reminder of the importance of Holocaust Memorial Day.

It is passed to like-minded organisations in Gloucester each year so they can mark the national day.  Together they will reflect on the appalling past events and commit to working together towards a safer and better future.

SkillZONE Manager Donna Potts says; “It is important to us to honour the memory of millions of people murdered in the Holocaust along with the other genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda and Bosnia.

“We are pleased to pass on the baton to St Peter’s RC High School and to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day locally.”

In remembrance of all the victims of the Holocaust and other genocides that have taken place throughout the world, there will be a reading of the Jewish prayer the “Kaddish” followed by a minutes’ silence. St Peter’s High School will also do a performance on the national theme of ‘keeping the memory alive.’


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Whether you trick or treat, stay safe this Halloween

Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service and its educational centre, SkillZONE, is reminding parents to keep their families safe this Halloween.

They are particularly alerting people to the safety risks that come with lighting candles for Halloween pumpkins.  Tips include using a candle holder and to keep them away from anything that could catch fire, like Halloween decorations, curtains and costumes.

Area Manager John Beard, Head of Prevention & Protection for Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service said: “Halloween has grown year on year and understandably, there is a lot of excitement around it. We don’t want to stop children enjoying themselves, but we would ask that parents take extra care to make sure Halloween is safe as well as fun.”

SkillZONE Manager Donna Potts adds: “We teach fire safety to every young person who visits our centre along with using candles safely – especially tea-lights.”

“Battery operated candles are the safest way to go at Halloween but if you are going to have a naked flame make sure to place lit pumpkins away from anything that can burn.”

Here are a few simple measures to protect children as they trick, treat and enjoy their spooky celebrations:

  • Be aware flowing items such as fake hair and capes can become hazardous if they are worn near naked flames such as candles.
  • Ensure that you use only fire retardant costumes for dressing up and that children can see out of masks.
  • Remember that Halloween costumes like plastic capes can pose a fire risk.
  • Keep children and pets away from garden candles and lanterns or any open flames. Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire.
  • Always keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
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Interactive safety centre offers free tours

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Over 1,000 Year 5 pupils in Gloucestershire have been taught life-saving safety tips since funded visits to the country’s newest safety centre, SkillZONE began in April.

Pupils from St Paul’s Primary school learning about water safety on a visit to SkillZONE.

Pupils from St Paul’s Primary school learning about water safety on a visit to SkillZONE.

More primary schools are being urged to take advantage of their free visit for Year 5 pupils (saving around £150 per class) by booking a trip this term. The £35,000 Gloucestershire County Council funded initiative is until March 31, 2015.

The state-of-the-art facility in Gloucester uses realistic sights, smells and noises to teach children life skills and about safety. Scenarios such as a dark alley, a beach or an internet cafe are used to get important messages across such as stranger danger, water safety or cyber bullying.

Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer Stewart Edgar says; “It gives me great pleasure to provide these safety lessons to every Year 5 pupil and it was heartening to see we were fully booked by schools last term.”

SkillZONE teaches children about vital decisions such as how to evacuate from a house fire or treat a burn and we want as many pupils as possible to benefit from these free sessions.

In a survey completed by 30 schools visiting SkillZONE as part of the Year 5 offer 96% of teachers said they were “very satisfied” by their tour and 92% said they believed their pupils were “a great extent” safer following their visit.

All groups will learn road safety, fire safety and hazards in the home during their 2 hour tour and teachers can choose 6 other scenarios such as a bus, a police cell, a Magistrate’s court and a shop.

To find out more about SkillZONE or to book visit:

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Skillzone uses hair straighteners to cook breakfast with local pupils

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As part of this year’s Child Accident Prevention Week (23-29 June 2014), pupils from Kingsholm Primary School will visit Gloucestershire’s only safety centre to learn about the dangers of burns and scalding caused by hair straighteners.

This year the awareness week, led by the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT), will focus on the theme of ‘Morning Mayhem’.

Stewart Edgar, Chief Fire Officer said: “We know that for many the morning can be a busy time – especially for those who have young children. By teaching young people the dangers of hair straighteners along with other house hold items we’re helping to keep them safe from serious injury.

“Hair straighteners stay hot for longer than you think. Your child can be burned if they touch them – even if they’ve been unplugged for up to 15 minutes. By storing hair straighteners safely on a high shelf or inside a heatproof bag keeps them out of children’s reach.”

CAPT reports that hair straightener burns have doubled in recent years and now contribute to one in ten burns to children. In addition, six toddlers are admitted to hospital every day as a result of being badly burned.

Cllr Will Windsor Clive, Cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for young people to learn the simple skills to help protect themselves from an easily preventable emergency. The SkillZONE centre provides a great service to children meaning they can make the right choices now and later on in life.”

If you or your school would like to find out more about SkillZONE visit For a limited period, primary schools in Gloucestershire can bring their Year 5 pupils for free.

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Safety at the heart of family fun day

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Fire truck demonstrations, go karts and a chance to tour the newest safety centre in the country is just a taste of what Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service’s Safe Summer Fun Day will offer on Saturday July 19th from 10:30am – 4pm at Gloucester South Fire Station on Tuffley Road, Gloucester GL4 0AS.

Bringing together all aspects of safety, this free event for all the family will be held inside and outside the fire station and at its neighbouring safety education centre, SkillZONE.

The day will be packed full of great kids activities such as face painting but it will also promote the underlying theme of having a safe summer holiday.

Visitors will get a chance to try out SkillZONE’s innovative safety village and children will be able to take part in a safety treasure hunt with the centre’s Staysafeatron robots.

Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership will also host a mini Level 1 Bikeability session and go karts for people to find out how dangerous it is to drive drunk by wearing special ‘beer goggles’ which simulate what it feels like to be under the influence.

Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service Chief Fire Officer, Stewart Edgar says “Put Saturday July 19th in your diary as we are planning a wonderful day with lots of exciting things happening to keep you entertained along with good food and refreshments.”

“As well as providing a community open day to both our facilities this is going to be the flagship event for safety this summer and is not to be missed.”

Other partners such as the Police, the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner, RNLI, British Red Cross and Bikesafe will also take part in the Safe Summer Fun Day. Different elements of safety will be focused on in the weeks leading up to the event with top safety tips offered to the public through social media which cover road safety, fire safety and water safety.

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Putting safety first sparks new career for Dominic

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From keeping schoolchildren safe to fighting fires, Dominic Tarulli hasn’t looked back since he started volunteering at SkillZONE.

The 20-year-old has been working at Gloucestershire’s safety education centre since it launched, and in that time he’s helped hundreds of young people and community groups tour the facility.

Now he’s encouraging more community-minded people to volunteer – guiding groups around the centre, which uses realistic settings to teach everything from road safety to hazards in the home.

Dominic said: “Just knowing that you are making children happy and safe is why I do it. I remember when my little cousins came with their school and they really looked up at me for working here.”

“That moment was particularly rewarding, just seeing them smile and learning something important as well.”

While working at SkillZONE, Dominic applied to attend the Fire Service College Firefighter Foundation Development Programme.

He said: “As cliche as it sounds it is a childhood dream to be a firefighter and I wanted to follow it through. I used to go to all the fire service open days and absolutely loved it. This was a great opportunity to get closer to that goal.”
Sponsored by the Fire Service College, Dominic completed the nine-week intense firefighter course in Moreton-in-Marsh, and is now looking for roles.

He added: “I’ve never done anything so hard, but I loved every minute of it and I am proud to have qualified as a firefighter at the end of it.”

SkillZONE needs more volunteer guides to take groups on two-hour tours of the centre scenarios, at which they encourage visitors to identify dangers and come up with ways to avoid risks.

Candidates come from all walks of life and only need to be able to give a minimum of two days a month. Along with on-the-job training, volunteers are offered courses in safeguarding, first aid, health and safety, and equality and diversity. SkillZONE also gives job references and pays for mileage.

Cllr Will Windsor-Clive, cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure, said: “There are many good reasons to volunteer at SkillZONE. For Dominic it was helping him get closer to his dream career, but at the very least it gives people an opportunity to give something back to the community. It doesn’t demand any huge commitment and it’s extremely rewarding work.”

If you are interested in volunteering, visit or call 01452 834 150.


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Watch out for cows on the Common

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Cows make their annual return around the Minchihampton and Rodborough Commons today.

To mark this SkillZONE will give out a cow colouring competition to remind drivers to take care.

Last year, 12 cattle died in collisions with motor vehicles, a significant increase from 9 the year before. Each of these collisions involved not only the death of a cow, but the driver and passengers involved in the collision are put at risk of a serious injury.

Around 500 local cattle are expected to appear in the commons on Tuesday 13th May, known as marking day.

Gloucestershire County Council and the Police are reminding people to drive carefully around these areas. Posters have been designed by a working group and will be put up at the gateways to the commons to warn motorists of the upcoming release of cattle.

To help remind local people of the dangers, school children in the area will also be taking part in a colouring/ design competition to dress a cow.

Schools visiting Gloucester safety education centre, SkillZONE will be given out the coloring sheets during their trip.

Bill Powell is a local farmer whose cattle are released onto the commons every year.

He said: “It seems odd to some people to see cattle on unfenced properties, but grazing is the best way to keep the commons in good condition for everyone’s benefit.

“Last year saw the highest number of cattle deaths for a long time and we are all doing our best to keep these accidents to an absolute minimum. We are caring people and don’t want to see cattle killed or injured – or put drivers at risk. We have tried various schemes to keep cattle safe and alert drivers over the years and will continue to work with the Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership in the interests of everyone’s safety.”

To download a picture of daisy the cow to enter the competition click here. For more information visit the Road Safety Partnership page.

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Free safety lessons offered to 10 year olds

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Primary schools in Gloucestershire are being invited to bring their Year 5 pupils for a free visit to the county’s only safety centre, SkillZONE.

SkillZONE is delighted to be rolling out the offer to all 236 state primary, junior and special schools after a £35,000 initiative was agreed by Gloucestershire County Council to be used in the 2014/15 budget.

The Gloucester centre, which opened just over a year ago, has a mock village that gives groups the chance to experience 16 safety scenarios that enable young people to make decisions about staying safe.

Around a third of primary schools have been to SkillZONE and research has shown that a 2 hour safety tour at the centre is particularly useful to Year 5 pupils as it ties in with their PSHE curriculum.

SkillZONE will be contacting primary schools in five phases over the next three months inviting them to book a free trip for Year 5 students through its online booking system.

Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer Stewart Edgar says; “Keeping young people safe and the prevention of accidents and injuries is integral to our role. SkillZONE tackles this by teaching children how to make life-saving decisions whether that’s wearing a seatbelt or how to evacuate from a house fire.”

“I am thrilled we are able to provide these safety lessons to every Year 5 child in Gloucestershire and I believe they will leave us armoured with essential life skills which they can share with their families.”

Cllr Will Windsor-Clive, cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure, said: “We know that children can gain so much from visiting SkillZONE and it’s great news that more classes could now benefit from its important safety lessons.”

All school groups will be taught about road safety, fire safety and hazards in the home and teachers will be able to choose a further 6 scenarios covering areas such as water safety, an internet cafe, a magistrates court or a shop.

To find out more information about SkillZONE visit


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The Stay Safeatrons arrive at centre

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SkillZONE has become the new home for a band of trusty robots named the Stay Safeatrons.

The robots will help bring the SkillZONE experience to life and to deliver  safety messages to young people.

They were named the Stay Safetrons by Barnwood Junior school after they beat other Gloucestershire primary schools to win SkillZONE’s robot naming competition.

Larger child life-size cut outs awill be dotted around the village. Smaller robots will become part of the tours, hiding around the village for younger children to spot or used to identify danger.

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