This Gas Safe Charity-supported project has provided nearly 3,000 free visits for deprived children in the West of England to Lifeskills – Learning for Living. A hands-on interactive safety education centre in Bristol helps to reduce the number of gas-related accidents and promotes more independent lifestyles. The programmes are fully supported by all four local authorities and the emergency services.
The interactive nature of the centre is not something that can be replicated in a classroom setting. Children discuss and practice what to do if there is a gas leak, understand why it can be dangerous and learn the gas emergency phone number. They are told that carbon monoxide cannot be seen, smelled or tasted and that gas appliances should be serviced every year. Children also understand the importance of having an audible carbon monoxide alarm. Following visits, results show a 45% increase in learning about carbon monoxide.
Gas Safe Charity funded a large project over several years with Royal Voluntary Service (RVS), using local networks to distribute gas safety information. A pilot based on tea parties in the South West was followed by projects in Eastern, West Midlands, South and South East of England regions. RVS Gas Safety Champions were identified and trained to cascade information through Meals on Wheels, home library services, community centres and lunch clubs, with an estimated 8.5 million people reached.
In 2011, Gas Safe Charity funded a three-year Be Gas Safe programme using local partners to distribute 1,300 CO alarms to disadvantaged families. The project also provided risk assessment tools and educational materials to educate and advise families on gas safety carbon monoxide awareness.
Hazard Alley, at the Safety Centre Milton Keynes, is the first purpose-built interactive centre where children aged 6-12 can experience 12 hazardous scenarios in perfect safety. Supported by Gas Safe Charity, more than 18,000 primary school children have attended courses each year since 2012. Teachers reported that the children were engaged, and feedback from children showed that they had learned the benefits of fitting a carbon monoxide alarm, how to react to gas and the dangers of taking a BBQ into a tent.
Gas Safe Charity established a grant fund in 2013 targeted at small charities, in particular members of the CO+SAVI Group of the Carbon Monoxide All Fuels Action Forum. This comprises charities, individuals and organisations who are survivors, activists and victims of CO and other toxins. The aim of the grant fund is to provide practical assistance to help recipients achieve their objectives. Up to £5,000 may be awarded to each organisation or person in any calendar year.
The support covered infrastructure and project development, hardware to support the charities’ main functions, and support for training or website set-up costs. Several of the CO+SAVI charities applied to the fund and the following were awarded grants: CO-Gas Safety; Dominic Rodgers Trust; Katie Haines Memorial Trust and CO AwarenessLtd. In addition, a grant was given over three years to Pilgrim Hospital Radio to sponsor an evening broadcast each week with messages on gas safety.