PRIMARY school children will receive help staying safe while walking to school this winter thanks to a generous gift from a local company.
Reflectors for all 6,200 primary school pupils have been bought by Ellan Vannin Fuels in a joint initiative with the Isle of Man constabulary’s Central Neighbourhood Policing Team (CNPT).
The first reflectors were presented to pupils aged four to seven at Scoill yn Jubilee, in Stoney Road, Douglas, on Monday, where the ‘stop, look, listen, think’ road safety message was also highlighted to the children.
The remaining 33 primary schools will receive reflectors this week.
Constable Mike Griffiths of the CNPT, which is based at Lord Street police station, said: ‘As the nights are drawing in, it is important to be seen on the roads.
‘These reflectors will help keep children safe as they attach them to either clothing or bags.
‘If pedestrians wear or attach something reflective to their clothing they can been seen up to three times more than somebody who doesn’t. And this gives drivers the chance to see and, more importantly, react to their presence.’
Speaking about the importance of the joint initiative, Mr Griffiths said: ‘We do have quite a few times where children are bit by cars due to the weather and things like that.
‘If it stops it happening once then this whole event is a success.’
The reflectors come in a range of colours and two shapes – with heart-shaped reflectors designed to particularly to appeal to girls.
Mr Griffiths said children were now ‘more aware’ and ‘switched on’ about the importance of road safety, and didn’t think persuading them to wear the reflectors would be a problem.
He said that he knew of at least one school where they were being given an extra incentive to wear them – by receiving a merit point if they are seen with their reflector.
He thanked Ellan Vannin Fuels for its support.
Andy Sweetman, sales and marketing manager of Ellan Vannin Fuels, said: ‘We have been working closely with the Safer Schools team over the last couple of years on projects focused at young people.
‘It is very rewarding to be involved and to see that the support we offer is used in such an important area of our community.
‘Increasing the visibility of our children and helping to keep them safe during the dark winter months is something I am sure is close to all our hearts.’
Education and Children Minister Tim Crookall MHK said: ‘Ellan Vannin Fuels has already generously supported a number of anti-bullying initiatives.
‘We are grateful for its latest gesture, which will ensure our children can be more easily seen by drivers during the gloomiest months of the year.’