RADAR Facility Officially Opened
The Award winning RADAR, (Risk Avoidance and Danger Awareness Resource) Northern Ireland’s first fully interactive ‘safety’ educational centre which tackles the main risks and dangers facing children and young people has been officially opened, today (Friday 25 November). Sir Matt Baggott, who introduced the concept of safety centres to Northern Ireland, returned to officially open the facility at Herron Road in the Belfast Harbour Estate. He was accompanied by the Chief Constable George Hamilton of the PSNI, Justice Minister, Claire Sugden and Chair of the Northern Ireland Policing Board, Anne Connolly.
From road safety to accidents in the home, internet safety to mental health risks, RADAR addresses many of the issues and dangers which impact on the younger generation and can often result in serious injury and sometimes worse.
The 25,000sq ft facility centres around a life-size street scene through which visitors navigate a number of learning zones, each geared to reflect some of the dangers and challenges of everyday life. With a full size train carriage, vehicular traffic, a shop, police station and court room, RADAR addresses a range of risks, from crossing the road, or managing finances, to the consequences of antisocial behaviour.
Speaking at the opening the Chief Constable said “RADAR aims to deliver a targeted and interactive learning programme to children and young people. Since it began receiving visitors in January of this year almost 8,500 young people from across Northern Ireland have used the facility.
“The hard hitting and realistic nature of each of the learning zones ensures those young people leave with lasting messages about risk and consequences. Not only can the Centre help them better navigate through life’s challenges, but society as a whole benefits as the projected social return for RADAR is estimated to be four times the level of investment in this bespoke facility.”
The £1.8m Centre, which is funded by both the public and private sectors, brings together a range of experts in risk management. The backing of the large partnership has enabled Sir Matt’s concept to become reality in award winning style.
Justice Minister Claire Sugden said: “The Risk Avoidance and Danger Awareness Resource is a great example of partnership working between the Police, voluntary, community and private sectors.
“It provides children and young people a unique opportunity, in an interactive and informative way, to explore everyday dangers in our society such as cyber safety, anti-social behaviour, drugs or alcohol. By understanding the consequences of these dangers they learn to stay safe.
“Positive community relationships, improving quality of life, help to build safer communities with lower levels of crime and anti-social behaviour, and this is something we all want to see.”
Discussing the facility Anne Connolly Chair of Northern Ireland Policing Board said: “This RADAR centre is a one stop shop for educating our young people on a range of issues that can help save lives and reduce the risk of coming to harm. The positive feedback from those who have visited to date tells us this style of learning really works and has a lasting impact.
“Now that the vision of the facility has been realised, we need to continue to invest in it for the future benefit of our children and young people.”