Keeping Kids Safe in Southend this Summer

Southend BID launches new innovative Child Safety Scheme in time for School Holidays.

Southend Child Safety Scheme wristbands in action rMonday 29 July 2013 – A group of local children joined business owners, Southend BID Chair Dawn Jeakings and the Southend BID Street Rangers today to launch an innovative new Child Safety Scheme for the town.

With the school summer holidays now underway, Southend-on-Sea is preparing itself for the huge annual influx of families arriving in the town for seaside fun – and the Southend BID has come up with a new initiative to ensure they stay safe and enjoy a worry free visit to the Essex coast.

The Child Safety Scheme encourages parents and carers to collect free, yellow wristbands from a number of High Street and seafront businesses on their arrival in the town. They then write their telephone number on the reverse and give it to the child to wear – meaning if the youngster inadvertently wanders off they can quickly be reunited with their family and friends.

Parents and carers are also being given cards to carry containing clear and concise details of what to do if a child in their care goes missing, including the all important 101 number to call.L to R - Karon Schleich, Grace Hayden, Sophie Anderson, George Hayden, Harry Anderson & Quentin Bailey r

Businesses already signed up for the Child Safety Scheme are the Royals Shopping Centre, Victoria Shopping Centre, Pier (Visitor Information Centre), McDonalds  (both High Street outlets), Pebbles Kiosk, Claire’s Accessories, Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe, New York New York Arcade and Clarke’s Fish & Chip shop .

The first children to take advantage of the new scheme were 9 year olds Grace Hayden and Sophie Anderson with 6-year olds George Hayden and Harry Anderson, who collected their wristbands from Karon Schleich, owner of Mr Simm’s Olde Sweet Shoppe. Karon says “The wristbands are an excellent idea and I am sure will be really popular with families coming to visit Southend this summer and give them piece of mind during their stay. This scheme is another demonstration of why so many businesses voted yes to the Southend BID as it is already doing such positive work for our town.”

Her sentiments were echoed by BID Chair Dawn Jeakings says “Feeling safe is paramount to families when they are picking a place to visit on their summer day out. We hope that initiatives such as the Child Safety Scheme, and also our newly introduced Street Rangers, will help put Southend-on-Sea top of their list as a secure, family friendly destination. We also hope the wristbands scheme will be used by local families and carers who are visiting the High Street and seafront on busy summer holiday days.”

L to R - Karon Schleich, George Hayden, Sophie Anderson,  Harry Anderson, Grace Hayden,  & Quentin Bailey with Dawn Jeakings rThe scheme has the backing of Essex Police. Inspector Bill Potter who is responsible for Neighbourhood Policing in Southend town centre says, “I can only echo the sentiments of Dawn and Karon; Southend has about 170,000 residents and 6 million visitors each year, and over the last few weekends it seems that all of them have been on the beach at the same time!! It does take a lot of time and effort for my staff to find lost children, and of course, the experience causes great distress to the families concerned. The wrist bands will certainly give greater reassurance to parents, and make it far easier for the Police and Public Authorities to reunite families. Less children getting lost means more bobbies concentrating on the high demand at this time of year and the other core policing functions which makes Southend a safer place.”

The children certainly seemed to enjoy wearing their new, brightly coloured fashion accessories. 9-year old Grace a pupil at Heycroft Primary School said “They look really cool with the bright colours – I really like wearing mine!”

For more about the Southend BID, a new website will be online soon –  www.onsouthend.com

Posted by Amy Moylan

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