Youth Cabinet increase water safety awareness

Published Wednesday, 1st August 2018
Youth Cabinet increase water safety awareness
Left to right: Jack Hogan, David McWilliams assistant Director Early Help, Cllr Hoddinott and Gary Willoughby from SYFRS

Life-saving water throwlines are to be installed on the banks of the canal side near New York Stadium and in the town centre thanks to the work of Rotherham’s Youth Cabinet.

The teenagers led a water safety awareness campaign, which saw them helping to engage people to raise funds for the purchase of two life-saving water rescue throwlines.

Now one has been named after former Youth Cabinet member Jack Hogan, who has since left to go to university in Coventry, as thanks for all he has done.

The throwline will be housed in a special hoarding by the waterside near the football ground with details of what to do to use it to rescue anybody in danger.

This is one of several such potentially lifesaving pieces of equipment which have been installed around water ways in the borough. The aim is to deter people from swimming in open water, which can be fraught with dangers, and also to be there to help anyone should they get into difficulties.

Jack said: “It is a great honour to have my name on this throwline board. As the Youth Cabinet we wanted to make sure other young people were safe. We know young people sometimes swim in open water, despite the messages to try and stop them. So we wanted to do something meaningful which would be there to help should anyone get into danger.”

The funding for the throwlines followed a recommendation from the Children and Young People Transformation Board to recognise Jack’s contribution to voice and influence within Rotherham. It was also Jack’s idea to promote water safety and fundraising for the throw lines to National Citizen Service young people. A further throw line will be installed at a later date near the river in Rotherham town centre.

Cllr Emma Hoddinott, Cabinet Member for Community Safety at Rotherham Council added: “Too many young people have lost their life in Rotherham. It’s important we highlight the dangers of open water and that anyone can get into trouble, no matter how good a swimmer they are.

“I want to commend Jack for the actions he and the Youth Cabinet have taken to raise awareness of this subject and put in throwlines in place.”

This follows a recent installation of another throwline at Parkgate close to the spot where a schoolboy drowned in 2016. More than 20 throwline stations have been installed at open water sites across South Yorkshire in the last two years, including Doncaster Lakeside, Ulley Reservoir and Thrybergh Country Park. The lifelines have all been installed by South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue (SYFR) working in conjunction with local partners.

Gary Willoughby, Water Safety Practitioner from SYFR, said: “Around 400 people needlessly drown in the UK every year and thousands more suffer injury, some life changing, through near-drowning experiences. These stations provide quick access rescue capability for anyone who might find themselves in difficulties in the water.”

The specially designed boards equipment contains throwlines which are stored securely to avoid vandalism, with an access code given to callers by 999 operators in the event of an emergency.