Tuesday 18th July 2023
The ‘House of Hazards’ from the Community Health Team of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, focuses attention on household safety.
House of Hazards and Child Safety Week
The Community Health Team, based in Cyprus and operating across overseas bases, ran the scheme during Child Safety Week in conjunction with police and fire and rescue services, and environmental departments in country.
Joanne Chambers, a SSAFA Health Visitor and Team Leader in Brunei, explained more saying:
“Child Safety week is an integral campaign run each year. Accidents within and around the home are very common and while they can’t all be prevented, it’s important that we try where possible to minimise risk.
“Our children and the safety of the population here in Brunei is of paramount importance. Highlighting dangers within the home environment will hopefully make people think; ‘Is my home safe? Do I need to do anything to ensure the safety of my little one?’”
Schools on British Forces bases overseas took part in the fun, but potentially life-saving exercise, and were invited explore the Houses of Hazards in their countries.
As Joanne noted:
“Some hazards were obvious and some hidden hazards were not so obvious, but the children all enjoyed spotting the hazards and engaged thoroughly with this exercise.
“It was a great success and one I hope we can replicate in future years.”
One House of Hazards was in Akrotiri. James Bennington, Assistant Head Teacher of Akrotiri Primary School – which took part – commented:
“It was a fantastic experience for our Y5 pupils to be able to identify potential hazards both around the home and garden, and what to do to keep themselves and their families safe. It was also great to have JSHU [Joint Services Health Unit] there to teach the children about the many creepy crawlies that live in Cyprus.
“As a military school, we have high mobility, which means many of our pupils join us through the year; experiences like these are invaluable in ensuring our children continue to live in a safe community, with an appreciation of the wildlife that we live among.”
It was a busy time in other ways for the next generation of pupils, including at Episkopi in Cyprus, many of whom – and their parents – attended a “School Readiness Celebration” in time for their first day in September.
There was cake, balloons, gift bags (provided by Sodexo), play activities (provided by HomeStart), and an opportunity to have children weighed and measured and plenty of advice from the Community Health Team about preparing children for starting school.
Feedback from mums and dads included:
“… so great to meet everyone and be able to ask for help… massively helpful… so great to be able to ask speech and language lady a question about my child without going through referral process…”
Helen Provan, SSAFA’s Episkopi Locality Team Leader, said:
“The first day at school is such an important milestone because it only happens once. Whether you’re an experienced parent or a first time mum or dad, it’s going to have an emotional effect and how you control those emotions will impact your child.
“School readiness is so important because being prepared for that first day will have such a huge impact on the health and we’ll being of your young child. It’s so important that the transition from health visitor to school nurse is recognised and explained so the parent is aware of the ongoing support they will receive from the community health staff.
“Providing the children with starter kits ensures they all have a good and equal start to school. Thank you to Episkopi Station, Sodexo, and HomeStart WSBA for their support at this valuable event.”
Karen Kirkbright, Head of Service Offer (Cyprus) Sodexo said:
“Sodexo Cyprus expressed delight in supporting the SSAFA’s school readiness event in Episkopi, as SSAFA holds a special place in their heart, we are always ready to support any of its initiatives.”
SSAFA’s Community Health Team operates not only in Cyprus and Brunei, but also Canada, Central Europe, Gibraltar, Kenya, Naples, SHAPE, and Sennelager and provides local community health services for British military families.
To learn more about SSAFA’s Community Health Team, visit ssafa.org.uk/community-health-overseas