Lessons in safety for Junior Citizens

Published: Monday 24th October 11

The Junior Citizen scheme – now in its 24th year - has been teaching the borough’s year 5 schoolchildren how to keep safe.

Junior citizen demostrationThe two-week scheme is run twice a year and is offered to every school in Wandsworth. It has provided training to more than 30,000 youngsters over past two decades on how to avoid dangerous situations in everyday life.

Children act out 12 different interactive scenarios, giving them a chance to safely learn what to do in each. These include keeping safe in the kitchen, avoiding live railway tracks, how to escape a fire, keeping safe around water and how to be a good citizen.

They are given guidance on how to cope with the tough issues young people today have to face, including exposure to drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Often what is learnt in one scenario will be reinforced in another. For example, children are taught how to identify dangerous drugs, and are then put in a 'derelict house' scenario where they are exposed to drugs. 

The different scenarios are carried out by officers from the fire brigade, the police and the ambulance service, plus school nurses, council officers and students from the Public Service course at South Thames College and Roehampton University .

Wandsworth's Junior Citizen is one of only a handful throughout the UK to be officially accredited by RoSPA - The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents - in recognition of the high standard of the scheme's delivery. 

The scheme is funded and run by the council as part of an ongoing collaboration between the council's community safety division, other council departments, the Metropolitan Police, London Fire Brigade and London Ambulance Service

Hotham student Sam Phillips, aged nine, said:

"We did lots of different scenarios. On personal safety we were given phones and told we were teenagers waiting for a bus and then a man with a hoodie came and took all our phones. A police officer said that if this happens give him the phone but ask for the sim back. On home safety we were shown a room and were told to find the hazards. We were then shown what the hazards were and how to fix them - like an iron with exposed wires on the plug. I think I will not be so scared now if any of these things happen to me."

Chairman of Junior Citizen, Cllr Angela Graham, said: "We are incredibly proud of the Junior Citizen Scheme. We know that children learn a lot from it because many of our previous students are now parents themselves and they're keen to send their own children on the course."

The council is keen to get the local community and businesses more involved in the scheme. If you would like to discuss this, or are interested in sponsoring Junior Citizen, call Sue Yoxall on (020) 8871 6603.

The picture shows Hotham students learning about home safety.

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