All posts tagged: SkillZONE

Design students learn to ‘Drive for Life’

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Twenty young design students became the first to take part in a new  course which teaches about the fatal four reasons for car crashes in their age group.

The Gloucester College pupils enjoyed interactive sessions created by the Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership (RSP) at SkillZONE. These covered; distractions, speeding, wearing a seatbelt and the effect of driving under the influence.

The afternoon was also a chance to announce the winner of a RSP competition to design a new road safety campaign poster.

Winner Molly Corrigan-Jones (pictured) was presented with a new child’s car seat for her son and her artwork is being displayed in large billboards in SkillZONE’s village. It will also appear in Gloucester and Cheltenham campuses and the other students art work can be found here.

Click here to read the Gloucestershire Echo story on the event.

Josh Brettell, 17, tries out driving with goggles that simulating being drunk or on drugs.

Josh Brettell, 17, tries out driving with goggles that make you feel drunk or on drugs.

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World Book Day celebrated at centre

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The King’s School based in Gloucester celebrated World Book Day by dressing as  their favourite book characters for their visit to SkillZONE this morning.

Twenty children aged 8 and 9 years learnt about safety in the; road, home, fire, water, building site/electricity, rail, park and bus scenarios.

Following their tour Gloucestershire’s new Chief Fire Officer Stewart Edgar was on hand to judge the best costume.

Gregory who dressed as Dennis the Menace was presented with a £10 book voucher as his prize and all the children got book erasers in their goody bags.

SkillZONE Manager Donna Potts says; “We would like to make the link between enjoying the wonderful adventures in a book and learning about safety at SkillZONE so they can lead an active and adventurous real life.

“We often talk about distraction as well so we will try to remind them that they can lose themselves in a story but must concentrate on safety when they are near roads or doing something at home.”


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Volunteer Day, Sat March 1st

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SkillZONE, the Gloucester based Safety Education Centre, will be running a Volunteer Open Day on Saturday March 1st from 10am -12pm.

The event is being held to celebrate the great work of its current volunteers, to provide information for people interested in volunteering and to showcase SkillZONE to members of the community who haven’t been.

Volunteer Manager, Will Knight, says; “If you are interested in learning more about our safety education centre then you are welcome to come along. You are not obligated to volunteer but if you haven’t been to SkillZONE, it really is a wonderful resource which is worth seeing.”

SkillZONE is a state-of-the-art village which gives children and young people 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.

The morning will include a welcome with refreshments, the launch of SkillZONE’s new promotional video, a chance to chat to volunteers about what being a guide is like and a tour of SkillZONE’s village.

Volunteer and retired Firefighter Frank Prentice says of being a volunteer; “I find it interesting and it keeps you modern and in touch with young people. If a young person can remember just a few things about safety we tell them then it’s a good start in life. The feedback we have absolutely makes it worthwhile.”

SkillZONE is located next to Gloucester South Fire Station, Tuffley Lane, Gloucester, GL4 0AS. To register your interest in attending a tour email


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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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Safety messages reach rural schools

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From rural road safety lessons to the importance of closing gates in the countryside, children from some of the county’s more remote schools are being given a safety lesson with a difference.

SkillZONE safety education centre has invited a number of rural schools to attend tours that teach lessons specific to their communities.

The week of special tours from 15th to 22nd January will cover topics such as preparing for bad weather conditions on country roads and considering what to do if a bus is cancelled or road is closed. The home and fire safety scenarios will also cover tips and advice for rural communities.
Cllr Will Windsor-Clive, Gloucestershire County Council cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure, said: “We want to ensure that no school is excluded from learning the important safety lessons that SkillZONE has to offer. It’s great that the centre gives us the opportunity to cover a range of situations and educate children from all walks of life.”

Withington Primary School teacher, Sonia Beames, said: “We didn’t know what to expect when we came and we were really impressed. Because we are from a village I picked relevant scenarios for our safety. I thought learning about first aid was really helpful as some of the children are far away from an ambulance and the fire safety lesson was good too.”

Pupil William Saunders, 11, added: “It was really exciting, I have learnt quite a lot out of it. I liked the cell the best and I know when to replace batteries in the smoke alarm.”

Twelve schools from the Forest of Dean and Stroud, along with the outer areas of Cheltenham and Gloucester, are taking part in the week.

Photo: Pupils of Withington Primary School, Cheltenham, take up the opportunity to visit SkillZONE for the first time from left to right: Abbey Finch 10, Megan Hood 10, Penda Mungendje 10, William Saunders 11, Elliot Carter 10.

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New Year, New Volunteers

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SkillZONE is calling for more volunteers to join its Gloucester safety education centre in the New Year and make a difference to young peoples’ lives by teaching them to stay safe.

Run through Gloucester Fire and Rescue Service and Gloucestershire County Council, SkillZONE is a state of the art building with a life size street scene inside.

School groups, clubs and the wider community make decisions on how they should stay safe in nine different situations such as hazards in the home, stranger danger online, experiencing difficulty in water and how to travel safely in a car, a bus or walking. 

SkillZONE’s Volunteer Manager, Will Knight, says; “People make New Year’s resolutions to do positive things and we hope this year they will consider giving something back to the community by teaching young people about safety.”

“Our volunteers are magic, they really are and SkillZONE has developed with their help but we need more volunteers from around the county to be guides or work on reception and help out at events.”

Volunteer guides take groups on a 2 hour tour of the centre scenarios where they encourage visitors to identify dangers and come up with ways to avoid risk.

Candidates come from all walks of life and are required to give a minimum of two days per month. Along with on- the- job training volunteers will gain other skills from courses given on; safeguarding, first aid, health and safety and equality and diversity. 

Student Anastasiya Belova, 17, says; “I became a volunteer here through my school and I thought it was a really cool place. Everyone is welcoming and I just enjoy interacting with young people. It’s good for my personal development as well.”

Volunteer and retired Firefighter Frank Prentice (pictured) says; “I find it interesting and it keeps you modern and in touch with young people. If a young person can remember just a few things about safety we tell them then it’s a good start in life. The feedback we have absolutely makes it worthwhile.”

Volunteer Jim Dale, a retired RAF Wing Commander, says; “When you can install something meaningful into youngsters about danger and they sit up and take notice, it is rewarding. It’s just nice to put something back into society.”

Retired Firefighter Bob Allison adds; “Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service is a great thing and SkillZONE which is part of that family is a wonderful resource. I like giving something back and I like to use my skills to be of value.”

To apply to be a volunteer email or phone 01452 834 150.


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School Governors Coffee Morning

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SkillZONE is running a School Governors Coffee Morning on Thursday December 19th from 10am -12pm at its Tuffley centre.

It is a chance for governors to learn about Gloucestershire’s only safety education centre and experience the facility first hand.

The FREE event will include a welcome, a tour of the life size village and an opportunity to chat with other governors over a coffee or tea and Christmas mince pie.

SkillZONE is a fully interactive learning environment which teaches school groups and the wider community how to recognise a range of dangerous situations and stay safe.

There are 16 zones in SkillZONE, which cover a range of scenarios including road, rail and water safety, an internet cafe, as well as home and personal safety.  

Places are limited so please email to book.

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Dramatic campaign launch as deaths increase

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The Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership is launching its 2013 anti drink driving campaign today at SkillZONE as the national number of drink drive deaths increases following decades of steady decline.

The Partnership figures reveal that during December and based on last year’s data, 23 families across the UK will lose a loved one in a sudden, violent and preventable tragedy.

In Gloucestershire last year, 2 collisions every single week involved somebody who took the risk of drinking and driving and from these, 31 people received fatal or serious injuries. Based on these figures, the Partnership is more determined than ever to drive home the anti drink drive message.

This year’s campaign, Eat, Think, Be Merry will combine police enforcement with a broad scale innovative media campaign across the county.

The launch of the campaign will focus on the devastating impact of a serious road collision. The streetscape at Skillzone, the county’s education centre, will be setup to simulate the scene of a crash to illustrate the most serious consequence of combining drinking with driving.

However the personal and social consequences of a drink drive conviction run far deeper than most people think. These can range from imprisonment, to large fines, a loss of a driving license for a minimum of 12 months and a criminal record. The Partnership will be joined by a recently convicted motorist who is willing to share the true affects of a drink drive prosecution.

You can find out more information on the campaign here.

Here is a short video featuring Garry Handley from The Citizens article covering the Drink Drive Campaign Launch 2013.

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‘Tune into Road Safety’ messages highlighted

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Visiting pupils from Cheltenham’s St James Primary School were today given valuable and practical road safety lessons as part of their SkillZONE tour to coincide with Road Safety Week.

SkillZONE is a state-of-the-art safety education centre where students can learn how to recognise dangerous situations in everyday life and how to stay safe.

During their visit the 90 pupils from Year 5 and Year 6 learned about the ‘Tune in to Road Safety’ theme for 2013 – that while it is human to daydream and get sidetracked, on the road distractions can be fatal.

Groups were taught about catching a bus or travelling in a car safely and to think about common distractions, such as listening to music or using a phone while walking and riding a bike. They also got to experience walking in near darkness and discovered how long it takes a car to stop after breaking suddenly.

Lottie Hutton, 10, from St James Primary School says “It was scary and unexpected finding out where the car went to after it brakes. I didn’t realise it would go so far.”

Andre Bovington from the Road Safety Partnership says; “Our main focus at this time of year is about walking in dim light on your way to school and to be aware of distractions. So our message to St James Primary pupils is to stay on the footpath and use safe crossings but to remember that drivers can’t always see you in poor light. If you’ve got an mp3 player or mobile phone, do not use them before crossing the road as they can be distracting.”

Road safety was only one of nine real life scenarios the Cheltenham school covered in its tour of SkillZONE’s life size village. They also got to experience danger in other situations such as in a: house, train, farm and internet cafe.

SkillZONE manager, Donna Potts says; “We are delighted that we can celebrate Road Safety Week together with the Road Safety Partnership in a realistic way that we know young people will remember. This is just one of the many ways we work with our partners to make the people of Gloucestershire safer.”

St James Primary School teacher Sarah Wakefield adds; “I thought the whole experience was really good, giving them the opportunity to do all these real situations and think for themselves.

“The videos were really powerful and a lot of every day hazards came out from the children that they had never questioned before.”

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Primary schools urged to visit SkillZONE

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SkillZONE, Gloucestershire’s state-of-the-art education centre, has published a new brochure which aims to encourage all primary schools in the county to visit.

The facility, which opened just over a year ago, teaches children, young people and the greater community to recognise dangerous situations in everyday life so they can stay safe.

SkillZONE is particularly popular with the Year 5 and Year 6 primary school groups and the interactive scenarios used in its life sized village have been designed to compliment PSHE delivery.

Gloucestershire’s Chief Fire Officer, Jon Hall says; “If you haven’t been before, it really is a fantastic and engaging learning environment which teaches valuable life skills.”

“We have had a brilliant response from schools who have visited so far (thank-you) but unfortunately there are others in the county who haven’t been or may not have heard of us. We want to spread the word about what a wonderful resource SkillZONE is to get all schools in Gloucestershire utilising it.”

Queen Margaret Primary School Teacher of Year 6, Daina Kelly, says; “It is a definite must to come again as I think all children would benefit from a visit.”

“The resources are so realistic that the children can realise themselves the situations and it is hard hitting enough for them to remember the lessons.”

The new brochure offers a snapshot of the important safety lessons offered at SkillZONE and the various scenarios including a house, shop, police cell, bus, train and internet cafe.

If you are interested in receiving a brochure please email To book SkillZONE or find out more visit or phone 01452 834150.

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