Cash life­line for Belfast cen­tre that gives young peo­ple lessons on safety

Belfast Telegraph - - NEWS - BY DONNA DEENEY

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

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