On the 5th July, The Future Melting Pot, a community interest company working closely with the West Midlands Fire Service, launched its #HaltHeartache Crowdfunder at Hall Green Secondary School. This was the culmination of two days in which over 90 Hall Green pupils had taken part in the Fire Service’s ‘Every Choice Counts’ sessions. After launching in late February, these classes have been presented in schools across the area, providing vital road safety information in an interactive setting. The first of their kind in the UK, the sessions use virtual reality technology to simulate a car journey, with participants having to make choices such as whether to make a friend wear a seatbelt. While Hall Green’s pupils are currently too young to be driving, the West Midlands Fire Service hopes that after these sessions the students will not only be the safe drivers of the future, but also the responsible passengers and pedestrian road-users of the present. It is the aim of #HaltHeartache to inspire young people to change their attitude towards the road, and recognise the dangers it can pose.
After witnessing one of the ‘Every Choice Counts’ sessions, David Adams, head of Hall Green Secondary School, praised the ‘really important and valuable link’ being made between the school and the West Midlands Fire Service. Some years ago, Hall Green School was affected by a road traffic collision in which four pupils tragically lost their lives. Mr Adams knows from his time at Hall Green that ‘the scars are still felt within the school and the community’. The school is, he continued, ‘very happy to support the #HaltHeartache campaign’ in its mission to help young people better understand the dangers that they can face on the roads.
#HaltHeartache grew from The Future Melting Pot’s evidence-based research into road traffic collisions involving young people in East Birmingham, which uncovered a link between the prevalence of these incidents and social deprivation. Birmingham is a young city, with the highest youth population in Europe, and road traffic collisions remain the biggest killer of young people aged 16-25 across the UK. These tragedies have a truly devastating impact on individuals, their families and their community. The #HaltHeartache Crowdfunder looks to raise money for the provision of preventative measures to educate young people and promote awareness of road safety. The Future Melting Pot hopes that this will have a lasting impact in preventing road traffic collisions and saving lives, involving young people and local communities in its mission to ‘halt heartache’ for generations to come.
Estella Edwards, CEO of The Future Melting Pot, said that she was ‘delighted with the impact’ of #HaltHeartache so far, and was enthusiastic about the possibility of the campaign reaching out to more local schools after its successful collaborations with Hall Green. Back in January, the Fire Service and The Future Melting Pot ran a series of assemblies in the school attended by over 900 pupils, while in turn the school had raised over £1,500 for #HaltHeartache through non-uniform days. It is this ‘multi-agency working’, bringing together schools, the Fire Service and other key stakeholders, that Ms Edwards believes is vital to the future success of #HaltHeartache.