From crisis to opportunity

It’s 6 months today since the SafeWise charity entered voluntary liquidation as a result of lost income from school visits during the pandemic, an inflexible and costly private sector lease, and lack of emergency funding for charities not providing services directly related to Covid19. We left behind not only our amazing #Bournemouth safety village with its full size street crossings, house, Co-op store, beach and railway track, but also a legacy of 22 years of fabulous educational experiences for young people, a strong community of supportive volunteers, and a fabulous staff team, all of whom lost their jobs.

A sad ending (I mean pause) but with much to be grateful for. Excitingly, the vision of our founders is being renewed and repurposed by 360 Skills For Life CIC, in what we think is a better, post pandemic format of online virtual reality, in school provision, and support for practical outdoor learning. Phase 1 funding is now secured from NHS England and the wonderful Talbot Trust, and we are starting to scope out the virtual learning village and programmes of study. We’ll be testing in schools this Autumn and launching in January 2022.

It really is true that every #crisis is also an #opportunity. And our young people need support now more than ever to release their huge potential.

Calling teachers and school leaders

We’re creating a virtual reality learning village with our partners at Volume, supported by NHS England and evaluated by ImpactEd, to support primary and secondary teachers deliver #SkillsForLife. We are now developing our first phase for full launch in January 2022, which covers #safeguarding themes to support the transition from #KeyStage2 into #KeyStage3.

We’re looking for both primary and secondary teachers/school leaders to advise and feedback on proposed content and delivery style.

We recognise the huge pressure teaching colleagues are under right now, so have planned two short online sessions. Can you join us on MS Teams on Tuesday 15th June, or Thursday 1st July, both from 4pm to 4.30pm?

If you are passionate about the need for a real life education for all our young people and would like to be involved in this innovative national project, contact us here and we can send you a Teams invite.

Annual Trespass Prevention Virtual Conference

We’re enjoying attending the Annual Trespass Prevention Virtual Conference and Tradefair 2021 today, organised by RSSB with Network Rail and British Transport Police. Lots of innovation going on to reduce trespass and the damage to lives of railway employees as well as the trespasser. Listening to interesting perspectives from Ann Mills, head of safety at RSSB, BTP Chief Constable Adrian Hanstock QPM discussing virtual reality learning, and Rupert Lown from Network Rail.

360 Skills For Life is developing a unique cross-curricular and skills-based approach in partnership with other agencies and covering a wider range of safety topics that complements trespass-specific interventions, using VR, but as part of a much wider in-school and outdoor learning programme.

IT Support 365 partners with 360

Expanding Portland-based business IT Support 365 is the first official commercial partner supporting 360 Skills For Life CIC to take forward the SafeWise concept into a post-Covid world.

The company, which has recently grown through acquisitions in north-west England and already runs a Swindon operation in addition to Portland, supported the former SafeWise centres in Weymouth and Bournemouth. The SafeWise charity was liquidated last month due to lost income from school visits and hire since the pandemic hit in March 2020.

360 Skills For Life is a new Community Interest Company established by the former SafeWise CEO Rob Hattersley. It is taking forward the concept by replacing expensive physical centres with a blended approach of online virtual reality, in-school and outdoor provision.

Rob says: ‘Our new blended approach means we can meet schools where they are, whether that’s in school or with home learning resources. That makes our delivery pandemic-resilient and reduces costs of travel for schools. We’re already making excellent progress and plan to have a new schools programme piloted across Dorset from September.’

‘We’re delighted that IT365 have renewed their support for us as we move from SafeWise to 360 Skills For Life. Getting our systems ready for growth is crucial. James and the team at IT365 are responsive and always willing to go the extra mile for us.’

James Bull, Group Director at IT365 added: ‘We were incredibly sad to see the closure of the SafeWise charity and the Bournemouth and Weymouth centres. But 360’s new model of online, in-school and outdoors seems better suited to the new world we find ourselves in. The new digital approach highlights the importance of secure and efficient IT systems. We are delighted to be able to support such an innovative and exciting re-thinking of the SafeWise concept.’

Businesses interested in partnering with 360 Skills For Life should visit www.360skillsforlife.org to see a short proof of concept video and to find out more. Information for schools will be disseminated nearer to September.