The ‘Street Smart, Road Safe’ book was the brainchild of local man and Road Safe NI chairman Davy Jackson, who developed the idea based on England’s Department of Transport’s version.
After realising Northern Ireland lacked a comprehensive road safety message for primary school children, Road Safe NI Charity was granted £4,995 by the Department for Infrastructure to create the book.
Road Safe Northern Ireland initially published 10,000 copies and sent a booklet to 825 primary schools, explaining that it could also be downloaded for free from their website.
Within two weeks the charity had received 10,000 orders for hard copies and has now secured sponsorship from 10 PCSPs to publish a further 28,000 to deliver the vital road safety message.
“Schools started to phone us saying they couldn’t afford to print them off for all of the kids or they could only use black and white printing,” Mr Jackson explained.
“They also said part of the feature of this booklet is the feel and touch of it because the way it came out was marvellous, so we decides to seek further sponsorship to allow us to supply at least one complete year group across Northern Ireland.
“Thanks to 10 PCSPs we were able to print 28,000 further copies.
“Our volunteers are currently distributing them to schools now with the help of PCSPs, PSNI and NIFRS. Hopefully all schools will have received their allocation by mid November.”
The idea is to supply ever year 5 child with a copy this year and every year after this if sponsorship can be secured in the coming years.
The booklet provides advice on road safety when children are out walking, cycling, travelling in cars or crossing the road - everything a child needs to know about the dangers of the road.
We’re also applying for further funding to come up with similar resources for that age group because we believe firmly that if lessons are learned at that age, children will carry them through the rest of their lives,” continued Mr Jackson. “It could save a life at the end of the day.”
Michelle Ramsey, principal of the Model Primary School said her pupils “love” the book and it was the first time her school has had “anything so detailed” in child road safety.
“I think it’s absolutely fantastic, it’s so bright and colourful, and really well put together,” she added.
“There’s just so much information that’s really vital for children at the minute as we come out of lockdown.”
For more information on Road Safe NI see www.roadsafeni.com/