Cash lifeline for Belfast centre that gives young people lessons on safety
A BELFAST centre which teaches young people about road, home and traffic safety and was facing the threat of closure has been granted a 12 month reprieve after the PSNI secured additional funds.
The Risk Awareness and Danger Avoidance Responsibility Centre (RADAR) — which has a life-size model of a street complete with bus and train stops as well as a police station — opened in 2015 and costs around £500,000 a year to run.
Last September the Chief Constable, George Hamilton wrote to the head of the Civil Service explaining that it was unsustainable for the PSNI to be the sole
Lifeline: Alan Todd
funder of the project and suggesting that the Departments of Justice, Health and Education should contribute to its running costs.
However, a lifeline has now been thrown that will ensure RADAR continues to provide Northern Ireland’s school children with valuable safety lessons for at least one more year.
Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said: “In August we advised the public that the Risk Avoidance and Danger Awareness Resource (RADAR) was to close in December due to budgetary pressures and other factors.
“At the time we also said that we would continue to work with government departments and key stakeholders to explore any further options to keep the centre open.
“Over the past number of months we have been working closely with our colleagues in the Department of Justice and the Department of Finance and others, and I am pleased to say that we have secured both funding and lease arrangements for a further 12 months which will in turn allow us time to develop a sustainable future for the centre.”
ACC Todd said he had met staff from the centre to tell them of the development.
He said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have worked to make today’s announcement possible and look forward to continuing to work with them to secure the future of this wonderful and valuable facility. The RADAR Centre remains open for business and we are taking bookings for 2019.”
The move has been welcomed by two of the DUP’s Policing Board members.
In a joint statement, Keith Buchanan and Joanne Bunting said: “This centre represents an important part of educating children, young people and adults on road, fire and home safety.
“The benefits have been widely expressed and are evident.
“It is great that extra funding will now be in place for the services they provide.
“We hope that a sustainable way forward can be found going forward from 2019 and we will ensure discussions take place to facilitate this.”
❝ The benefits of this centre have been widely expressed, it’s great that extra funding is in place