"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world" - Nelson Mandela
Our mission is simple: to use education to help in Making West Midlands Safer as an integral part of West Midlands Fire Service.
Our ethos is 'Learning About Safety by Experiencing Risk', in other words, experiential learning. For example, our visitors may learn about: -
- Road safety by using a real crossing
- Fire safety by discovering a fire
- Emergency calls by using a working phone box
- Water safety by role-playing responses to a drowning in our canal
- Financial safety by using a working cash machine
- Personal safety by witnessing anti-social behaviour and acting to reduce risk
- About the work of firefighters by undertaking a home safety check
All Safeside programmes recognise that individuals learn in different ways. Discussion through open questions that stimulate independent thought and problem solving is very important. Each learning point is addressed through visual, auditory and kinesthetic means. For example, visitors will see and discuss choosing safe routes to walk home, but will also experience an unsafe route including smells, sounds and darkness!
Our programmes address the real issues for the user group as shown by the statistics, rather than the public perception of risk, which is sometimes wrong. The issues faced by primary school children about to move to secondary school are very different, for example, to those important for the parents and carers of the under fives.
In general, we book tours for organised groups such as schools, nurseries, youth or special needs groups. However, during 2014, we plan to begin opening to the general public with family programme.
We do have to charge for visits at both centres, unless funding is forthcoming from another sources. For example, due to generous support from Nationwide Building Society, we can currently offer FREE visits and subsidised travel for anyone attending our Safestart scheme.