A book promoting child safety has been launched today at Parc y Scarlets.
The book Gwylia” – ‘Watch Out!’ A child’s guide to every day dangers will be given to every child in every school in Wales and it has been translated into Welsh.
Tony and Lynn of OK Our Kids kicked off the event alongside Country file presenter Steve Brown.
Steve Brown said that he had been ambassador for the OK Our Kids programme and was impressed by the organisation and book. He said: “There are so many dangers these days. It isn’t just what is right and wrong but how to deal with those situations. There are different dangers in different areas of life for children. We all have children or have been children. We know from our own journeys how many dangers are out there. Programmes like this help.”
Dame Nia Griffith MP said: “It is fantastic that the Rotary are taking this initiative. It is not just a book in Welsh it reflects Welsh culture and Welsh communities. They are working with Welsh schools in producing materials. What is so lovely is that they are wanting to promote this as a community organisation.”
New Zealand rugby legend Zinzan Brooke said: “I am delighted to be back at a rugby ground. One of my loves was Welsh rugby. Two of my heroes were Gareth Edwards and Phil Bennett. I enjoyed my rugby but this is about giving back. I joined the organisation as an ambassador and I love the work they do. Having six children is a big challenge. Keeping them safe is essential and this book is a great aid for that.”
Llanelli Rotary Club have been supportive of the book and presented a cheque of £1,000 to OK Our Kids today. The Rotary Club of Wales have been instrumental in supporting the book, which was translated into Welsh and trialled at Five Roads School.
Ray Bevan of Rotary of Southern Wales said: “It’s a great delight that Rotary is involved in this project. All 56 clubs in Wales have close contact with schools. It is important for us to be working with educators. We work with schools to ensure they are keeping children safe. Things have changed. I was a teacher for 40 years and I think it is important at this point that we work with schools and utilise the work that Tony and Lynn have done and put it into practice in our schools.”
Guests were treated to a performance by Meibion Elli and songs by the children of Five Roads School.
A pupil from the school read an emotional piece outlining some of the dangers in his world.
Attending the event were dignitaries including Dame Nia Griffith MP. Cllr Glynog Davies and Chairman of Carmarthenshire County Council Rob Evans.
Cllr Evans who contributed to the book spoke about his experience as a paramedic and the dangers they faced. He said that he was proud to have contributed to the book and hoped it would help innumerable children across Wales.
Cllr Rob Evans said: “It has been a brilliant project and Lynn and Tony have been instrumental in bringing this to Wales. The big point is that all these children are going to get this book for free. Mums and Dads can talk to their children along with the book. When I grew up it was don’t talk to strangers. It is more than that now. It is safety online, safety on the roads, how to deal with the emergency services to get help. That is what it is all about, looking after the children in Wales. I hope it spreads to other nations.”
Sarah Leighton, a former head teacher from Berkshire told the audience about the work she did in Berkshire when the book was first launched in English. Rhian Francis the head Teacher at Five Roads also spoke about how the book was received by the children at the school and how important it was to have a resource, which the children owned and which helped address the issues of safety in a number of areas of the child’s life.
Glynnog Davies said: “It is a huge project and I am so pleased today that we are launching a Welsh language version of the book. This book is an education book and it will be so beneficial to all our schools especially keeping children safe. It is essential in this day and age that we care for our pupils in our schools.”
Professor David Brodie, the author of another series of books, Purple Pup spoke about the importance of listening to children. His books focus on issues such as bullying and the dangers around swimming.
Professor David Brodie the author of Purple Pup said: “We are very keen that parents and school teachers will listen to children more. The book will go a long way to establishing this. Tony spoke to me about this book and our club bought some and distributed it to some of our local schools. I picked up individual themes including swimming, loneliness and school bullying and these have also been translated into Welsh. If one child reading these books changed their lives it would make a huge difference.”
To close the event there was a special performance of the Haka by New Zealand rugby legend Zinzan Brooke who was joined by the children of Five Roads School and Heol Goffa School.
The book will undergo some adjustments before it is published in numbers and distributed to schools across Wales.