Campaign to highlight open water dangers after worrying new figures show pupils not being told the risks

SCHOOLS and campaigners are putting water safety in the spotlight as it is reported just one in five children received advice in the past year on keeping out of trouble near lakes and waterways.
Members of the Lowland Search and Rescue team gave demonstrations and information at the recent family fun day at Clifton Park organised by Sam's Army's Mission.Members of the Lowland Search and Rescue team gave demonstrations and information at the recent family fun day at Clifton Park organised by Sam's Army's Mission.
Members of the Lowland Search and Rescue team gave demonstrations and information at the recent family fun day at Clifton Park organised by Sam's Army's Mission.

Research by the Royal Life Saving Society UK found just a small fraction of pupils had been given water safety education.

Drowning Prevention Week has been extended this year with extra virtual assemblies by Yorkshire Water on offer next week, and teachers have been encouraged to make sure they are getting the message across.

Following the tragic death of East Dene teenager Sam Haycock at Ulley Reservoir last summer, the charity and campaign group Sam’s Army Mission was formed and has been working to raise awareness and funds.

The group, led by 16-year-old Sam’s parents Simon and Gaynor, held a fun day in Clifton Park during the half-term holidays, featuring classic cars, safety demonstrations and It’s a Knockout style games inspired by water dangers.

Sam’s Army Mission has already raised thousands to fund new safety measures, including a new throwline at Manvers Lake.

 

Anne Reed, social responsibility and education manager at Yorkshire Water, said: “The recent warm weather has seen an increase in the number of young people visiting our reservoirs and deciding to take a dip to cool off.

“It is important they are aware of the dangers posed by open water, with cold water shock, operational machinery and hidden undercurrents all posing a risk to their safety.

“Water safety lessons are vital for young people, and it is concerning just a fifth of children received information on staying safe around water in the last year.

“Our education team will be delivering further virtual sessions to children throughout the region on 6 and 7 July and we would urge teachers to sign up to the lessons, which we are delivering with the support of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and the RNLI.”

Teachers can sign up to the sessions by visiting the Yorkshire Water website.