Looking to the future: Gas Safety Trust sponsors the new LASER Alliance

A new alliance set up to help children and young people “learn about safety by experiencing risk” has announced a three-year sponsorship deal with the Gas Safety Trust.

The LASER Alliance, which currently has 215 registered members (individuals and organisations), welcomed around 50 delegates to its first meeting at the Bristol Lifeskills Centre on Wednesday, at which the sponsorship was announced.

Dr Mary Benwell, a trustee and past chair of the Gas Safety Trust, told LASER Alliance members the sponsorship provided an opportunity to share data on and raise awareness of carbon monoxide deaths and serious incidents. It will also enable the LASER Alliance to raise its profile and recruit more members, while continuing to develop its work in teaching children and young people about risk taking and how to manage risks in order to reduce injuries.

The LASER Alliance is hosted by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), which has a guiding principle that life should be “as safe as necessary, not as safe as possible”.

Wednesday’s meeting provided an opportunity for members to network and share experiences about practical safety education through a series of workshop sessions. Information was also made available on the “LASER Accreditation” scheme, through which organisations can gain external recognition for their practical safety education programmes, and the importance and uses of evaluation.

Dr Benwell said: “Quite simply, the members that make up the LASER Alliance are the people that we recognise as our stakeholders in the furtherance of gas safety. We don’t ourselves directly get involved in education and awareness raising, but we do want the evidence and information that we have available to be used for those purposes. We know that the stakeholders for the safer use of gas are the same people that we’ve got working with RoSPA on the LASER Alliance. This was what persuaded the board to agree to the funding.”

Cassius Francis, LASER Alliance co-ordinator and RoSPA’s youth liaison worker, said: “It is great news that the Gas Safety Trust has agreed to sponsor the LASER Alliance for the next three years. It will increase RoSPA’s capacity to support partnerships at a regional level and aid the alliance in its work to raise standards in delivering high quality practical safety education.

“It also provides an opportunity to increase our membership and helps the Gas Safety Trust to communicate their safety messages to children and young people. Through us, the trust will have access to member organisations around the country.”

Errol Taylor, RoSPA’s deputy chief executive, added: “It is thanks to the Gas Safety Trust that we’ve been able to get back to the position where we are running events like the one on Wednesday. Our members have told us that they value networking and learning from each other, so it’s the ability not just to run self-help events like this, but to run many of them, that we’re particularly excited about.”

The LASER Alliance has a network of regional champions based across the UK who promote the Ten Principles of Effective Safety Education, which underpin the alliance’s definition of high quality practical safety education, and contribute to the LASER Alliance’s policy making process.

The alliance includes members of two former practical safety education projects - CSEC (Child Safety Education Coalition) and LASER (Learning About Safety by Experiencing Risk) - and it also includes a variety of new members. Organisations working with children and young people that are interested in joining the LASER Alliance should phone Cassius Francis on 0121 248 2025 or email cfrancis@rospa.com. More information is available on the LASER Alliance website - http://www.lasersafety.org.uk/.

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