Pictured left to right: SafeWise Chief Executive Alison Shelton, AFC Bournemouth Head of Community Steve Cuss, AFC Bournemouth midfielder Dan Gosling, Coles Miller Partner Adrian Cormack, AFC Bournemouth Chairman Jeff Mostyn, Coles Miller Marketing Manager Lee Taylor
More than 1,500 Dorset schoolchildren are to get vital safety training at the new Coles Miller Soccer Safety School being launched in Bournemouth.
Leading local law firm Coles Miller is spearheading a groundbreaking new initiative to help protect the county’s youngsters from danger on the roads.
The scheme combines road safety with football training to make the messages more memorable and fun for the children.
Coles Miller has teamed up with AFC Bournemouth, LV=Streetwise, Bournemouth University and bus company Damory to help make the project happen.
Coles Miller invited local council road safety officers to identify 20 Dorset schools that are close to busy main roads and may have limited access to safety advice.
The schools have been invited to take part in the full day Coles Miller Soccer Safety School completely free of charge.
It means that children previously denied the opportunity of safety advice - because their schools found the cost of transporting them to LV=Streetwise prohibitive - will now be able to visit the popular interactive safety centre in Elliott Road, Bournemouth.
The 5-11-year-olds will spend two hours at award-winning LV=Streetwise, learning how to avoid everyday hazards on the roads and in the home.
Each child will receive a two-part Road Safety Diary. One section has important safety information for the youngsters, the other is for their parents (to help refresh their memories!)
All the children will then be taken by coach to AFC Bournemouth for some soccer training with a difference - it has been specially designed to reinforce all the safety messages they have just learned.
The fitness aspect of the campaign will also help to promote healthy living and reduce childhood obesity.
Cherries midfielder Dan Gosling will be the new campaign’s ambassador, visiting local schools to promote the initiative and encourage the youngsters to stay safe.
Coles Miller and its partners have timed the launch of the campaign to help children when they most need it as the days grow shorter, nights draw in and the roads become more dangerous due to bad weather and poor visibility.
Coles Miller’s Head of Personal Injury, Adrian Cormack said: “Our personal injury solicitors have dealt with tens of thousands of road accidents all over the UK during the last 10 years - 15 per cent of them involving children.
“Many accident victims can suffer life-changing injuries so we are determined to do everything we can to stop these tragedies from happening.
“We have been campaigning for many years to help prevent accidents but this is our biggest initiative to date and we are very grateful to our partners for their support,” he added.
AFC Bournemouth Commercial Director Rob Mitchell said: “AFC Bournemouth’s Community Sports Trust is delighted to have joined this partnership to help educate young people about staying safe when playing outside.
“We want to encourage children to be more physically active but we also have a duty to ensure they are aware of potential hazards and dangers as pedestrians, when cycling or playing in open spaces.
“We’d like to thank Coles Miller for their support and for making this valuable project happen,” he added.
LV=Streetwise is run by the charity SafeWise. Chief Executive Alison Shelton said: “We are honoured, proud and very grateful to have been chosen to work with Coles Miller.”
She paid tribute to Coles Miller for all the support the firm has given LV=Streetwise over recent years.
That has included a “phenomenally successful” cycle helmet design competition for Dorset schools and a contest in conjunction with full service marketing agency Intergage to extend LV=Streetwise’s popular online home safety computer game for children.
For more information about the Coles Miller Soccer Safety School, please contact Coles Miller Marketing Manager Lee Taylor on 01202 673011.