Norfolk school children to learn safety skills with Crucial Crew
28 February 2018
Thousands of primary school children across the county will be learning valuable safety skills and advice at interactive workshops this year thanks to a project led by Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service.
Crucial Crew is a multi-agency project which has been running in Norfolk for more than a decade and welcomes year six (aged 10-11) pupils from schools across the county. It helps children stay safe at home, in the community and online and sessions are fun and interactive.
Since starting in 2003 the audience has grown year on year, with more than 56,000 children attending. All have benefited from the advice it offers which has in some cases been used later on to help prevent death and injury.
This year’s project kicks off next week for the Breckland area. From 5-8 March, 31 schools have signed up to attend. They include Bawdeswell, Old Buckenham, Mattishall, Attleborough, Scarning, Weeting, Necton, Great Ellingham and Beeston primary schools, Thetford Grammar School and the Earthsea Short Stay School.
The venue, Letton Hall Christian Conference Centre, has been donated for free and local rotary clubs are supporting the event by providing volunteers.
As well as learning about fire safety in real-life scenarios, children also take part in short bitesize workshops. This year’s topics also include warnings about fire safety, household emergencies, sexting (sending sexual images or messages by text), seaside safety, healthy relationships, alcohol and drug awareness, road safety and first aid.
Previous topics on the agenda have also included internet, gas, electrical and kitchen safety, as well as anti-bullying and learn more about the work of the emergency services.
The project has been supported over the years by partners including National Grid, UK Power Networks, The Matthew Project, The Magdalen Group, Norfolk County Council's Youth Offending and Road Safety teams, Norfolk Resilience Forum, The Change Project, Norfolk Constabulary, East of England Ambulance Service, St John Ambulance and HM Coastguard. The event is supervised by staff from these partners, as well as volunteers who often come from local rotary clubs.
Each week is slightly different depending on the partner agencies availability to support it, but all share a common purpose of tackling important issues and raising awareness of safety.
All Norfolk schools are invited along to one of the seven crucial crew weeks, including local authority and private schools and those supporting children with special educational needs.
Workshops last two hours and two run per day, with each venue running them for between three and five days in a row.
Chairman of Norfolk County Council's Communities Committee, Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, said: "Aside from transport costs met by the school or parents, the project is offered completely free to all year six pupils in Norfolk. It helps to educate young people about the different safety risks in an engaging and memorable way and the feedback from schools has been very positive. As funding has diminished, the scheme has relied on local support, sponsorship, donations and volunteers to allow it to continue and we are delighted that it is able to run again this year."
Crucial Crews run at venues in each of the seven districts of Norfolk, many supported by the local councils. Last year more than 6,000 year six children attended.
The benefits have been life changing in some cases, with one participant later witnessing an electrocution and knowing what to do to keep the casualty safe until help arrived.
The dates and venues for this year's Crucial Crew are as follows:
Breckland, Letton Hall, Shipdham - Monday 5 to Thursday 8 March
King’s Lynn, KL Fire Station North – Monday 23 to Friday 27 April
Broadland, The Space, Norwich – Monday 21 to Friday 25 May
South Norfolk, Easton College – Monday 2 to Friday 6 July
Norwich, Royal Norfolk Showground – Monday 17 to Friday 21 September
North Norfolk, Gresham’s Prep School, Holt – Monday 15 to Wednesday 17 October
Great Yarmouth, Haven Holiday Park, Great Yarmouth – Monday 12 to Friday 16 November