No-one likes anti-social behaviour… we promise: Tameside schoolchildren taught vital life lessons by ‘Crucial Crew’

By Rob Lowson

Tameside youngsters have been learning a variety of life skills through a series of Crucial Crew workshops.

The events are aimed at 10 to 11-year-olds from Tameside Schools and delivered via a multi-agency partnership including Greater Manchester Police (GMP), Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS), Tameside Patrollers and New Charter Housing.

Over the course of a four-week programme, each organisation puts on a workshop focused on dealing with real-life scenarios and personal safety issues.

GMP’s workshop featured an elderly disabled gentleman who played the part of a victim of anti-social behaviour, the aim which was to teach the children about the impact such behaviour has on society and what they should do if they witness it.

PC Darren Ankers of GMP’s Tameside Division said: “Crucial Crew is a fantastic way of getting young people involved in making a difference in their community.

“Unless they witness it themselves, many young people do not understand the distress that anti-social behaviour can have on people, so by bringing it to life we hope to discourage them from becoming involved in it in later life.”

GMFRS’s Director of Prevention and Protection Services, Assistant Chief Fire Officer Peter O’Reilly, said that the organisation supports the Tameside local authority to deliver Crucial Crew as it creates the opportunity to communicate with a younger target audience in an interactive way.

He said: “By teaming up with the authorities and partner agencies, we can hopefully provide important fire safety messages to young people in a way that will stick in their minds.”

Deidre Reeves is Head Teacher at St Mary’s RC Primary and Nursery School in Denton. The Crucial Crew workshops are an important annual event for her school, and they took 30 year 6 pupils to the sessions this year.

She said: “The focus is always on life skills and personal safety. So should the children encounter a life-threatening or emergency situation such as a house fire or stranger-danger, they practically know what to do.

“All the sessions are really practical so the children are involved in active learning, role-play, it’s done in a way that the children remember what they’ve actually got to do.”

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