Our ambition to make Leeds a child friendly city can only be achieved through partnership work across all sectors of the city, joining together to put children and young people at the heart of everything they do.
Jane Kaye is one the people at Leeds City Council who is responsible for liaising with young people and our ambassadors, helping Leeds to achieve its ambition of being the best city for children and young people to grow up in.
Today we hear from Jane, as well as pupils from Richmond Hill Primary – Courtney, Kieran B, Jacob, Teagan and Sharnai – about a visit they took to Gipton Fire Station to learn about fire safety…
“Child friendly Leeds were invited to spend the morning at Gipton Fire Station in East Leeds. It is a beautiful 1930s building with an industrial art deco interior complete with tiled walls, parquet floor and a fireperson pole to slide down! The event called ‘Safety Rangers’ takes place on an annual basis and is a partnership between Leeds City Council and the West Yorkshire Fire Service.
“The event is targeted at young people in ears 5 and 6 from the surrounding area and the young people get to experience a carousel of five activities and talks on different topics. When they took part in one of the activities they were given a word or phrase to stick onto a board and eventually these made a sentence. The activities were quite ‘hard hitting’ which is exactly how they are intended to be, to make a lasting impression on the young people.
“The first session led by the council’s Resilience and Emergencies team and was about emergencies that could happen in any country or city. They explained about rest centres and what would happen if you were moved to one. Every young person was given a booklet explaining how they could be ready for such an emergency and were give a card to write their emergency details on, to keep with them at all times in case of an accident or emergency.
“The second session was run by the council’s Road Safety team and featured a static car that was ‘driven’ by a young person at 30mph. The young people were asked to position cones where they thought the car would stop travelling at 30mph. As an experiment the braking distance was measured when the driver was concentrating and then again when they were distracted. The children were visibly shocked at how far the car would travel from when the brakes were hit. The moral being that as passengers they should try very hard not to distract the driver and as pedestrians to remember to use the Green Cross Code: think, stop, look and listen.
“The third session was led by British Transport Police and featured a box containing a model railway which came alive, complete with ghostly figures telling the true stories of accidents that had taken place on railway lines. The accidents were caused by bricks being thrown at trains, crossing the railway lines, playing chicken and train surfing.
“The fourth session was run by the fire service and was the scenario of a fire in a house with the young people being trapped in a bedroom. The fire brigade talked through what the young person could do to get help: from banging loudly on the wall to attract their parents attention, putting a blanket against the door to stop smoke entering the room and calling for help from a window. They also talked about the importance of fitting and testing smoke alarms as well as how long a fire door would hold up against a fire and how long it takes for an engine to reach a fire once called.”
Here’s what one of the young people said:
We learnt if there was a fire how to get out; you will have to bang on your wall and tell your parents. Then you open the window to get oxygen in the room. Next yell out to your next door neighbours and ask them to phone the fire brigade and then come back and tell you if they are coming or not.
“The last session was delivered by the police and was mainly about knives and the trouble that young people can find themselves in sometimes without thinking.“
Here is what one young person wrote:
We listened to a story about a girl that was getting bullied at school. So one day she brought a knife to school because they were pushing her and pulling her hair. Consequently she put it in her bag at home time and when they did it again, she pulled out the sharp, pointy knife and pointed it in their faces. They all crowded around her and grabbed the knife off her.
She accidently got stabbed in her head and soon after ended up in hospital. Sadly, they had to turn the life support machine off because the knife had snapped in her head and made her brain dead. That is why you shouldn’t carry a knife around because it could end someone’s life and stop them growing up.
“The session also touched on replica guns and how these can be mistaken for the real thing by the public and police.”
Here is what the young people said:
Don’t have BB guns as people might get the wrong idea and report you to the police and then you will get arrested and taken to prison, if you are over the age of 10. Take this story for instance, there was a teenager who put a BB gun in his pocket, somebody saw him and phoned the police. They came with guns (actual guns) and aimed at the boy.
“The morning was rounded off with the whole group gathering together and sharing their messages:
Wear the gear!
If you think it’s wrong, say no.
Look out for danger.
Think for yourself.
Be prepared – have a plan.”
A huge thanks to Jane and the young people from Richmond Primary for writing this blog for us today!
Over the past three years, 350 ambassadors have signed-up, pledging to improve the lives of young people in our city. If you’re interested in joining the child friendly campaign you can email:firstname.lastname@example.org , or visit: www.leeds.gov.uk/childfriendlyleeds for more information.
Are you an ambassador doing fantastic work in Leeds for young people? Are you interested in becoming a child friendly Leeds ambassador? Why not let us know on Twitter @child_leeds, or by leaving a comment below…