Experiencing risk is crucial if young people are to learn about safety and be active

Helping children and young people develop skills to make responsible decisions about safety and risk is the aim of a new alliance, which will hold its first meeting today.

The LASER Alliance, which currently has 215 registered members (individuals and organisations), promotes “learning about safety by experiencing risk”. It believes risk taking is an important part of life and that, by learning to manage risks through high quality practical safety education, children and young people will be able to contribute to reducing injuries and have the confidence to lead active lives.

The alliance is hosted by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), which has a guiding principle that life should be “as safe as necessary, not as safe as possible”.

Today’s LASER Alliance Event, being held at the Bristol Lifeskills Centre, will give alliance members an introduction to how they can work together, and workshop sessions will then cover a range of practical safety education topics including: involving young people; assessing and addressing individual needs; working in partnership; developing a safety education film; planning, delivering and evaluating an annual event; safety education for families and early years; and using technology in safety education.

Information will also be available about the “LASER Accreditation” scheme, through which organisations can gain external recognition for their practical safety education programmes, and the importance and uses of evaluation.

Cassius Francis, RoSPA’s youth liaison worker and LASER Alliance co-ordinator, said: “For many years, RoSPA and a wide variety of our safety education partners have championed the philosophy that children and young people develop important life skills by having opportunities to experience risks and not by being wrapped in cotton wool.

“It’s great for organisations to be able to come together in the LASER Alliance to promote this message in a consistent way across the whole of the UK, hopefully enabling more children to have opportunities for practical safety education.”

The LASER Alliance has a network of regional champions based across the UK who promote the Ten Principles of Effective Safety Education, which underpin the alliance’s definition of high quality practical safety education, and contribute to the LASER Alliance’s policy making process.

The alliance includes members of two former practical safety education projects - CSEC (Child Safety Education Coalition) and LASER (Learning About Safety by Experiencing Risk) - and it also includes a variety of new members. Organisations working with children and young people that are interested in joining the LASER Alliance should phone Cassius Francis on 0121 248 2025 or email cfrancis@rospa.com. More information is available on the LASER Alliance website - http://www.lasersafety.org.uk/.

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