Worcestershire will be the focus of a pilot education package, as the Home and Dry campaign driven by the Police and Crime Commissioner continues to bring together a number of agencies to prevent drowning.
After the PCC invested in a dedicated resource, based at the Royal Life Saving Society UK, to focus on improving water safety education, work has continued to progress to fully understand and profile water safety issues across West Mercia and steer and shape the next stage.
Worcestershire was highlighted as a key area to focus on with accessibility to sports and leisure, being a factor. Covid has also had a significant impact on swimming provision in schools with 1.88 million children nationally missing out on swimming lessons, and 240,000 fewer children able to swim 25 metres.*
It is hoped the Worcestershire pilot, will continue to influence work nationally and improve water safety as part of the National Curriculum.
There will also be a continued focus on keeping people safe whilst out enjoying the night time economy, as the scoping work for Worcestershire revealed there were a high proportion of water related incidents in the evening and overnight, and particularly at weekends.
Commissioner John Campion said “Education is key in preventing future tragedies and changing behaviour from an early age. From extensive research we are able to fully understand the extent of the problem and target our approach accordingly.
We have had too many awful incidents in Worcestershire and I am pleased to see this work continuing to progress with the backing of a number of agencies, united and working towards the same aim, to keep people safe.”
Lee Heard, Charity Director at RLSS UK said “We, at RLSS UK, believe that everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy water safely and with one in four children unable to swim the statutory 25 metres when leaving primary school, we know that improving water safety education within schools is vitally important.
We are already seeing great work developing with the partnership with West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner in Worcestershire and this is something we will look to develop nationwide over the coming months to ensure that water safety forms an important part of the national curriculum.”