Neil O’Connor, the director of fire, resilience and emergencies in the department for communities and local government attended the launch event last week and unveiled a plaque at the new £215,000 centre.
Lifewise is a life-size film set of a small town which is used to deliver fire, road and personal safety messages to the public and is a collaboration between South Yorkshire Police, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership.
Mr O’Connor saw the early stages of the site’s construction last spring, and was keen to return to see the finished centre.
Lifewise’s flagship education programme Crucial Crew sees thousands of the county’s school children taken through a scenario-based learning programme to learn about antisocial behaviour, fire safety, arson, road safety, first aid and safe travel on buses.
Each year every South Yorkshire school is invited to attend Crucial Crew and the scenarios are delivered by partners local to the school.
Mr O’Connor said: “The creation of this centre is an excellent example of partnership working between local agencies. Children and young people represent a great opportunity to the fire and rescue service and the police as educators to introduce lifelong skills and messages which will lead to fire safe, responsible and safer behaviour in all our communities.”
Chief fire officer Jamie Courtney said: “This centre is an outstanding example of the ground-breaking collaboration work we are involved in with the police and other partners.”
“Educating young people to help keep themselves safe is of common interest to us, and we have both based our community safety teams at the centre to develop ongoing partnership working.”
Temporary chief constable Bob Dyson said: “By both organisations coming together we are already seeing great benefits.”
“We have adopted a one message approach which means that it doesn’t matter which service the staff member comes from they will ensure that all safety messages from the partnership are delivered.”
“So this means we get messages out about fire safety, crime prevention and road safety and use the Lifewise Centre as a hub to direct the public if they require more information. Staff are coordinating activity and so far over 5,600 people have attended the centre.”
The centre cost £215,000, with more than £200,000 in goods and services donated to the project by local businesses and the community.