United aces Wes Brown and Darren Fletcher looked on as 250 children displayed their vision, awareness, anticipation and control only on this occasion they weren’t playing football! The pupils from Irlam Primary School were using these football essentials to demonstrate their own well-being on and around roads.
‘Play Safer’ is aimed at children aged 5 – 11 and is the only programme of its kind that uses the skills of professional footballers to teach children about road safety, making it a fun and effective way to save lives.
Attending the programme in July, midfielder Darren Fletcher stated: “I think it’s a great message, the fact you can mix the football with the road safety.” He added, “I know as a kid you can switch off a little bit so it’s good they can link it to professional football by using awareness and vision while crossing the road. I think it will help the kids drum home how important it is.”
According to the accident awareness society ROSPA, road safety initiatives such as ‘Play Safer’ do make a difference. “In the last two years, we have seen a fall in road deaths of more than 700. It is particularly good that child deaths are now lower than 100, although this is clearly still too much,” Said head of road safety at ROSPA, Kevin Clinton. “All of this shows the value of having a comprehensive road safety strategy. The challenge now is to keep this momentum going and continue the reduction in death and injury.”
After the scheme’s successful launch in April, Foundation Chief Executive John Shiels is keen to see Play Safer roll out to more and more school-children in the region. “As a result of this weeks’ programme over 700 kids will have benefited from this revolutionary road safety training. We hope to visit more schools in the Greater Manchester area with ‘Play Safer’ later this year.”