Life skills centre, The Warning Zone, are opening their new section on Tuesday 26th March. Following school evaluations completed by the visiting teachers, the one zone which kept cropping up for a major change was the Water Zone. The idea of a new Water Zone first began over three years ago, but due to funding issues we were unable to proceed.
Applying for the Mick George Community fund in 2018 has enabled the zone to see these ideas become a reality – with support from Barclays, Santandar, Everards and the Police and Crime Commissioner.
The new Water Zone covers every aspect of Water Safety and also discuss Sun Protection for our skin and Plastic Awareness within the environment.
Within the new zone there is a purpose-built canal boat, a seaside and a quarry and many other interesting and interactive pieces. Despite our massive advancement in technology and the dangers online activity can produce, water is still one of the biggest killers involving children.
The Water Zone concept was designed by top creative Harvey Gardner FRSA he was chosen for his original design concept, the interactive learning tools and messages, also the unique use of the space available. Gardner was set with the task of covering all the different Water Safety issues within a twelve-minute framework, whilst ensuring that there is constant interactive participation by the children.
Best known for his international exploits, having recently spearheaded the creative thinking to win the India Pavilion (at 5000sq meters, it is one of the largest pavilions at the Dubai Expo 2020) Gardner remains steadfastly proud of his Leicestershire roots.
Having been at the front of the design concept for the initial King Richard III exhibition at the Guildhall, beamed live to over 36 countries worldwide, further local projects include the Warning Zone Knife Crime Exhibit which aims to raise awareness of the dangers to kids of the growing problem across the UK and the ongoing memorial project sculpture for Leicester Tigers.
Harvey said: “The foresight, work ethic and vision of the whole team at Warning Zone is fantastic. It is about trying to constantly make a difference, saving lives by raising awareness and understanding of surrounding dangers. It has to be one of the UK’s Premier educational resources and as a charity should be supported at every turn. Hopefully the new Water Zone will play it’s part in making children aware whilst still being able to look forward to having fun and enjoyment when interacting with water.”
The team used to help construct Harvey’s design vision are nearly all local businesses, they are: Nick Harrison Joinery, QQD Graphics, Andrew Wolloff, Holovis, Created by Ten, Foxton Boat Hire and last but not least Spencer Gardiner (Harvey’s son) who became the voice of the frog on the canal journey.
RNLI have supported us with archive film footage and artwork from their latest campaigns, along with considerable help and advice with the lesson plans.
All water safety messages are covered within this zone, including rivers, lakes, reservoirs and canals are covered in more detail as well as the dangers that lie beneath the surface. The seaside is also covered, understanding about tides and currents and knowing that a Life Guard patrols the beach with its various safety flags and rescue equipment is the safe place to go.
Children are taught what to do and who to call in an emergency. As well as this, they are taught five ways to protect your body from skin cancer, plastic and the danger it causes our environment, what is the problem and how can we help. The quarries educate the children about the dangers of trespassing / tombstoning & cold-water body shock.
The Canal & River Trust have been really helpful in providing advice for lesson plans and providing promotional merchandise for the children when they visit.
All the Warning Zone staff and our eighty plus army of volunteers helped greatly in making the changeover to the new zone run so smoothly especially when it came to delivering as a guide to the children, in our new zone.
The Warning Zone delivers interactive learning to all Primary, Independent and SEN Schools in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland and is the only Life Skills Centre in the East Midlands. 10,500 Children visited the zone in the last school year from over 250 schools.
Year 6 (aged 10 & 11) is the age group we work with because 10 is the age of criminal responsibility in this country and Year 6 is the last year in Primary School before they move into High School with all the Peer Pressure they may be faced with.
The zone isn’t afraid to tackle the relevant issues of the day such as the E-Safety being constantly updated and keeping up to date with the current trends and issues online, such as the new Knife Crime Awareness Zone and the need to discuss more issues involving the environment. We are currently working with Oakwood Training on developing positive Mental Health messages throughout the Zones.
Warning zone wants to continue to develop and update all their existing zones, ensuring that they stay relevant and if needs be making way for new zones to tackle new challenges and problems such as county lines etc.
The centre wants to be at the front end of any changes in technology and interpretive techniques to ensure that the young children get the best and most up to date Life Skills Training in the country.