Sometimes I moan a bit about how tax payer money is used but the creation of @Radar in Belfast is one of the best ideas I’ve seen in a long time.
On my approach to the venue, I saw the most horrific scene of a car crash and it was with great intrepidation that I entered the building! I was warmly greeted by Stephen and Craig who took time to show me round.
Radar is the first interactive safety and life zone learning environments in Northern Ireland. The vision of the PSNI, it is truly a jewel in the crown for educators, community groups and others wishing to promote well being and preventative education.
Walking around the centre this morning, I was amazed by the amount of real life facilities that pupils can interact with. RADAR boasts a full sized street scene, with a house, bus, train, court room, prison cell, shop, police station, boat and much more.
I was able to see range of everyday risks like water, fire, and electrical safety. I also had the opportunity to drive a car and have a deepened understanding of dangers that can be faced even when approaching traffic lights.
I even learned quite a bit myself regarding house dangers, some 4000 serious injuries occur in N. Ireland homes. Some happen as a result of fires. The bedroom scene advised by the Fire and Resue Service truly brought home the importance of talking about escape plans.
The planned programmes for Key Stage 2 and around drugs and alcohol, anti social behaviour, and e-safety will have a huge impact on society. The promise of people living with the aftermath of accidents or people who’ve committed a crime talking to young people is fairly hard hitting. I am in no doubt that this experiential approach is something that no young person visiting will forget.
The success of preventative education can be hard to measure but the folk at Radar are confident it will have a positive effect. So much so that a longitudinal study by the University of Ulster has been commissioned to assess the impact that this will have on future generations.
With over 50 partners this is a resource that is going to have a huge impact on the children of Northern Ireland. Many public and private sector businesses are supporting this sound initiative and I know it will be a great success when it opens.
I certainly will be signing our pupils up!
For more info see http://www.radarni.co.uk
RADAR is Northern Ireland’s first fully interactive, safety and life skills education centre. Opening in September 2015, RADAR is interactive, informative and fun. RADAR enables young people to explore dangerous situations in a risk free setting. RADAR has been designed to inspire, engage and inform young people on how best to keep themselves safe. It’s a ground-breaking and innovative way to educate children and young people.