The Risk Factory is Scotland’s first community safety education centre using an interactive and experiential approach. It is supported by all local authorities, Lothian Borders Fire and Rescue Service and Lothian and Borders Police. Its purpose is to teach young people how to stay safe in their environment and be aware of risks in certain situations. There are 11 different scenarios with important safety messages. The volunteers’ role is to ensure that children learn from the experience in a fun and interesting way so that they are able to recognise potential dangers and know the actions to take to reduce or avoid risks.
Volunteers are trained on each scenario and how to deliver the messages effectively. The training includes regular talks from experts, “shadowing” or following an experienced volunteer to see ‘volunteering in action’ and one-to-one training and support from the Risk Volunteer Co-ordinator.
Matt Robertson, a younger volunteer, said of the recent award: “This is great acknowledgement of the volunteers and how well they all pull together. We have older people instructing P7 children and also people, regardless of age, working together as volunteers with a common interest. The Risk Factory is a unique place in terms of the generations who work together to make the day a success. It is truly amazing how a group of extremely varied personalities, characters, ages and backgrounds can learn so much from each other.”
‘Get Up & Go’ Intergenerational Award 2009
Other volunteers’ quotes:
“I have never regretted joining The Risk Factory as a volunteer. I usually work two mornings a week and get a great deal of pleasure passing on information to the children in the hope it will help to keep them and their friends and family safe. The fact the children are involved in the various scenarios helps to make what we are teaching interesting and will help the young people remember in the real world where it is vital to be conscious of potential dangers.”
“Volunteering is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. The volunteering community is made up of people from all walks of life and is very educational. It allows individuals to give something back and to see the benefits of your efforts. I love it!”
The volunteers also gained an ‘Inspiring Volunteers Awards’ 2009 in the Teams category.