SafeWise, the award winning interactive safety education charity which runs safety centres in Bournemouth and Weymouth, has held their first VIP Event at SafeWise Weymouth. The Weymouth centre is home to the FireWise and RoadWise experiences.

Guests including councillors, supporters, volunteers and trustees from across the county gathered to celebrate the success of SafeWise and experience for themselves the amazing work being carried out with their support each day across the whole prevention agenda. The visitors also heard about the safety education being delivered at SafeWise Bournemouth and what is planned at the new safety centre in Wroughton near Swindon which opens in 2018. During the event long service awards were presented to our loyal volunteers who have completed 5 years’ service – Mr Paul Hardy and Mrs Karen Stewart.

The annual event was opened by Chairman of SafeWise, Mr Geoff Warde MBE and was attended by a number of Mayors and Council Chairmen from across the county. Speeches were delivered by HM Lord Lieutenant Angus Campbell, Dorset Police & Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill and MP for South Dorset Mr Richard Drax, with Assistant Chief Fire Officer Mick Stead and High Sheriff of Dorset John Young bringing the event to a close.

Guests saw first-hand some of the real life educational training that visitors experience including FireWise, an interactive fire survival suite with live fire demonstrations; RoadWise the exclusive outdoor road safety education facility and also a driving simulator where guests experienced how drinking alcohol can impact driving abilities.

Each year almost 11,000 children are educated at the SafeWise centres in Weymouth and Bournemouth with the sole aim of preventing accidents in the home, on the road and at play.

Information was shared about the future plans and developments of SafeWise, with the opening of a new safety centre to be based at Wroughton (near Swindon) in 2018 which will combine many of the elements of both centres.

Vikki Thomas, SafeWise Weymouth Centre Manager, said “We were delighted to host the inaugural VIP day at our Weymouth site and showcase the work that is undertaken by the team here which complements the valuable work carried out at our other centres. This is an exciting time for SafeWise with the new centre at Wroughton which combines many of the great aspects of both centres.  Of course we would not be able to provide these facilities and the essential life skill training they provide to the local children and the community without the ongoing support of our generous sponsors and fantastic volunteers.”

Richard Drax MP said: “I have witnessed this charity grow from its initiation when I was fortunate enough to film the opening of the Bournemouth site while working as a reporter for BBC South Today. It’s always hard to judge just how effective preventative organisations are as there are no statistics as to how many lives have been saved or injuries prevented. All I do know is that the volunteers do a wonderful job and that both adults and children benefit enormously from the education they receive at the centres, which are professionally and diligently run.”

Mick Stead, Assistant Chief Fire Officer & Director of Prevention and Protection at Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service said “The fantastic work that continues to be delivered by the SafeWise charity and its partners should not be underestimated. There is no doubt that numerous lives have been saved over the years and that the education programmes for all ages have undoubtedly helped people to stay safe in their homes, on our roads and in our communities. As a newly combined Fire and Rescue Service we are really excited about the opportunities our continued involvement with the charity provides and I know that the Chief Fire Officer is absolutely committed to helping to ensure the charity goes from strength to strength.”

Martyn Underhill, Dorset Police & Crime Commissioner said: “During recent consultation with over 2,000 local people, 71% agreed that concentrating on road safety issues should be a focus for Dorset Police. This is reflected in my new Police & Crime Plan for 2017-2021 and I am wholly supportive of educational activity, carried out with our partners and local communities, that highlights the dangers of poor decision making on the roads.”

Alison Shelton BEM, Chief Executive of SafeWise, said “The event has been a great success and is our way of saying ‘Thank you’ to our sponsors and volunteers on whom we depend to keep the SafeWise centres providing the high quality and unique education experience to local communities.  The SafeWise centres are always looking for new sponsors and volunteers to allow us to continue to provide preventative education that is potentially saving and changing lives.”

The event was closed by Mick Stead, Assistant Chief Fire Officer of Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service and the High Sheriff of Dorset, John Young.

For more information about SafeWise Weymouth, sponsorship and volunteering opportunities please contact Vikki Thomas, Safety Centre Manager on 07788 305006 or vikki@safewise.org

 

One of the opening presentations was given by Richard Drax MP for South Dorset

Vikki Thomas, Karen Stewart (volunteer receiving award in recognition for 5 years’ service) & Cllr Richard Kosior, Mayor of Weymouth & Portland