The DTLR has approved 38 bids from local authorities for the new government grant to pay for local child pedestrian training co-ordinators. It will be the job of the co-ordinators to train and support parent volunteers who will take young schoolchildren out on the streets to teach them key road safety skills.
'As a parent, I recognise the importance of ensuring that children are aware of the potential dangers they face on our streets and that they know how to reduce their risk of being knocked down when crossing the road.
'We all need to teach our children how to get about safely on our roads in today's motorised society. And we need to start doing that even before they are old enough to be allowed out on their own.
'In the case of this child road safety training initiative however, we are not going to put an extra burden on already hard-pressed teachers because we want the children to get their training at the road side rather than in the classroom.
'The volunteer parents will be using methods that were successfully tried and tested through the Drumchapel project in Glasgow a few years ago. That project showed that trained volunteers can be as effective as expert trainers in teaching other people's children basic pedestrian skills. We are now looking to adopt this approach in selected areas in order to make sure that it works in a broad range of communities and in different parts of the country, and we will be carrying out a separate thorough evaluation to check if it does.'
DTLR received 76 bids in response to the invitation issued on 4 May 2001 with each putting forward the names of about ten schools that wanted to participate in the project.
Following today's announcement, these authorities can now get on and recruit their local co-ordinators, who will be trained and recruited by DTLR's consultants for the programme. Volunteers will be trained during the spring term year of 2002 and the first batch of children will begin their training programme in the summer term.
1. The successful authorities are: Barnsley MBC, Blackburn with Darwen BC, Blackpool BC, Bolton MBC, Bournemouth BC, City of Bradford MDC, Brighton & Hove City Council, Bristol City Council, Calderdale MBC (two bids), Derby City Council, Doncaster MBC, Dudley MBC, Enfield LBC, Greenwich LBC, Hampshire CC, Kent CC, Kirklees MBC, Knowsley MBC, Lambeth LBC, Lewisham LBC, Liverpool City Council, Manchester City Council, Middlesbrough BC, Norfolk and Suffolk CCs (joint bid), Redcar & Cleveland BC, Rotherham MBC, St Helens Council, Sandwell MBC, Sefton MBC, Sheffield City Council, Solihull MBC, Staffordshire CC, Tameside MBC, Thurrock Council, Walsall MBC, Waltham Forest LBC and Wirral MBC
2. Today's announcement covers the first of three annual tranches of grant approvals to help increase and improvechild pedestrian training. A further£7m will be allocated in future tranches over the next two years. The DTLR grant support will fund local scheme co-ordinators, who will work with local authorities and local road safety officers to set up training schemes in selected schools using trained volunteers to teach practical road safety skills to children aged six and seven. These projects are part of a range of government initiatives set up to improve child road safety since the launch of the Road Safety Strategy in March 2000. The strategy set the target to reduce the number of children killed or seriously injured on children's roads by 50 per cent by the year 2010.
3. The statistics for the year 2000 show that Britain still has amongst the safest roads in Europe and that it is on course to achieve the target reductions set for 2010. The target reductions will be formerly reviewed in 2004 to ensure that they are still achievable and also still challenging - which means they could be increased.
4. Figures for 1999, the latest for which international comparisons can be made, showed that with 5.9 road deaths per 100,000 population Britain had the lowest road death rate in Europe. But the child pedestrian death rate was 0.87 per 100,000 children compared with 0.78 for France, 0.65 for Germany and 0.24 for Sweden.
5. The new programme of pilot projects will be spread over five years. The new co-ordinators will each be funded for a three-year period and grants of up to£30,000 a year will be available towards the cost of salaries and other directly related expenses. It is expected that around 100 co-ordinators will be in post when the project reaches a peak in 2004.
6. Sarah Boyack, the Scottish executive's road safety minister, announced on 4 September 2001 that there will be a similar programme in Scotland and that authorities there are invited to produce bids.