Local pupils record radio ad to highlight road worker dangers

24 October 2016
Image of school children and Amey employees holding a certificate.

Pupils from Bordesley Green Girls School visited the Free Radio studio’s in Birmingham to professionally produce an emotive radio advert with the clear message to drivers to take care at road works sites.

The girls beat off competition from over 100 school pupils in the city to design and produce a campaign to raise awareness of the hazards road workers face on a daily basis.

As part of their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, pupils Fatimah, Ikra, Habiba and Zeb gave up their free time to take part in Project RADAR (Raising Awareness of Dangers to Amey Road workers), a 13-week bespoke volunteering initiative, run in conjunction with Birmingham City Council’s highways partner, Amey.

The project was designed in response to a marked increase in careless actions, violence and abuse towards road workers in the city. Road workers regularly face verbal abuse and threats as well as incidences of motorists forcibly and aggressively driving through road closures, putting their own and other people’s safety at risk.

Since January, highways teams in Birmingham have recorded at least an incident a week where road workers have been put in danger because of the actions of members of the public.

Incidents range from vehicles carelessly or deliberately driving through barriers and verbal abuse, through to people spitting at workers and even threats and acts of physical violence.

Two particularly aggressive incidents saw workers threatened with weapons including a gritter driver bombarded by a group of youths throwing stones, and a worker threatened with a baseball bat in broad daylight because resurfacing works were creating noise. Amey are working closely with West Midlands Police to ensure all incidents are reported and that sites are as secure as they possibly can be.

Dean Webber, Highway Supervisor for Amey, said:

“It is really disheartening when you experience careless drivers and abuse out on the roads. Our job is to make roads better and safer for everyone, and we do all we can to minimise disruption while we are working but there are times when delays can’t be helped. I’d appeal to people to think about their actions before taking frustrations out on those just doing their job.”

The girls have already received recognition for their efforts, meeting HRH The Earl of Wessex KG GCVO, Trustee of the Charity, at a celebration event earlier this year to announce their winning entry. Free Radio have now helped make their winning idea a reality.

Ikra Khan, one of the pupils from the winning Bordesley Green Girls School Team, said: “It is really exciting. We never thought that we would win the competition and were surprised when we found out. Now we have the chance to see how real radio adverts are made and hopefully use ours to help raise awareness of what road workers have to face while doing their job.”

Lucy Thompson, Teacher and DofE Manager for Bordesley Green Girls School, added: “It has been fantastic being a part of this project and we are delighted that the Bordesley Green Girls School team were crowned the winners. The development we have seen in the girls has been quite amazing, from how shy they were at the beginning of the project, to them presenting their campaign and meeting His Royal Highness. Now having the opportunity to record their advert in a professional radio studio will be great experience that these young people will take away with them and remember forever.”

The unique project was launched as part of the Amey’s 14-year strategic partnership with the DofE charity, a collaboration helping young people from disadvantaged backgrounds across the UK take part in their DofE, thereby improving their life-chances and employability prospects, and putting them on a path of success.

Independent research commissioned by the DofE Charity has shown that 84% of young people who achieved their DofE Award developed enhanced organisational skills and 62% felt that the DofE helped them to make a positive difference to their local community.

Phil Brown, Regional Director of the DofE in Central England, said: “I am delighted the winners of our Project RADAR initiative have excelled and created such a fantastic and professional campaign.  The DofE helps prepare young people for the world of work and this project was a great opportunity to develop their critical thinking and communication skills, whilst understanding the issues faced by Amey staff on a daily basis.”

Amey’s teams have already designed road signs for their use on sites bearing the girls’ strapline “look out for the signs and save a life” and the company will now work with the school to help roll out their recorded advert.

To find out more about Amey go to www.amey.co.uk

To find out more about the DofE go to www.DofE.org