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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Spooks and Sparklers car hits the road to spread Halloween and Bonfire Night safety message

15/10/2015

The launch of the Spooks & Sparklers campaign
The launch of the Spooks and Sparklers campaign

The eye-catching Spooks and Sparklers car – part of a campaign to encourage responsible and safe behaviour over the Halloween and Bonfire Night period – has taken to the road.

"This partnership project will really help people to strike the right balance so that those who want to get involved in the festivities can do so in a safe manner while still respecting the needs of those who may feel uncomfortable or even scared at this time. Our aim is to help residents to stay safe, feel reassured and ensure that children and young people understand the impact that anti-social behaviour can have on other people."

Jess Patten - Community Safety Officer for Tamworth

The Spooks and Sparklers campaign has been launched by the Tamworth Community Safety Partnership, made up of Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service, Staffordshire Police, Tamworth Borough Council Community Wardens, Housing and Staffordshire County Council.

Its aim is to spread the ‘NO 2 ASB’ message over the Halloween and Firework night period by reassuring residents, reducing anti-social behaviour and educating young people and their parents in a fun and interactive way.

The focus of the campaign is the highly-visible Spooks & Sparklers car, kindly sponsored by Chambers Hyundai and liveried by Positive Design. The car was handed over to the Partnership on Monday and will now be out and about until Sunday November 8.

The car will be used by the Community Safety Partnership to visit schools at various times of the day and undertake evening patrols until Sunday November 8. Partners will talk to children in primary schools about safe trick or treating and firework safety, while at high schools they will discuss the dangers of setting off fireworks, buying fireworks illegally and reminding students about the Flames Aren’t Games message.

The evening patrols will focus on areas which have experienced issues with ASB to educate and inform young people about keeping safe while out trick or treating and being aware of who they may scare by their actions, as well as information on firework safety and details of the activities available.

Partners will also be delivering information, including No Trick or Treat leaflets, details on how to report concerns and other safety information to the borough’s sheltered housing schemes and other areas where the partners feel vulnerable residents may benefit.

All partners will be in St Editha’s Square on Tuesday October 27, where they will be speaking to parents and youngsters, and handing out ‘Be Aware Who You Scare wristbands and leaflets.  The Spooks & Sparklers car will also be on display.

This year’s campaign is using the hashtag #spooksandsparklers to help spread the message through social media and the Community Safety Partnership is asking people to use Twitter to say where and when they have spotted the Spooks & Sparklers car.

A number of activities for young people will also be running during the campaign. The £5,000 funding will provide activities for 13 to 21-year olds across the Borough (or 25 if a person has a disability). The activities are:

• West African drumming workshops with Joliba West African Drumming School. Learn some real West African music with real West African drums and instruments. Sessions take place at the District Activity Centre in Deltic, Glascote on Monday October 5th, Monday October 12th, Tuesday October 20th, Tuesday October 27th, Tuesday November 17th and Thursday November 26th. The sessions run for two hours from 6.30pm and places can be booked by calling 07840941393.

• Graffiti art with Birmingham-based graffitiartist.com. Create a piece of graffiti art to keep on a baseball cap, bag or canvas. Sessions are held at the District Activity Centre in Deltic on Thursday October 8th Wednesday October 14th, Monday October 19th, Wednesday October 28th, Monday November 2nd, Wednesday November 11th, Monday November 16th and Wednesday November 25th. All sessions start at 6.30pm and run for two hours. Places can be booked at info@graffitiartist.com

• Boxing sessions at the Corner Post Education Centre in Orchard Street, every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from October 12th to November 12th. Sessions for 13 to 16-year-olds start at 6.30pm for an hour. Sessions for 17 to 21-year-olds start at 7.30pm.  Places can be booked on 01827 314111.

Spooks and Sparklers builds on the success of last year’s Pumpkin Patrols, which were credited with helping to reduce ASB and increase safety awareness. It also aims to create awareness of the Community Safety Partnership, with partners working together to protect their local communities from crime and anti-social behaviour.

Jess Patten, Tamworth Community Safety Officer for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Halloween and Bonfire Night can be the highlight of the year for many people, particularly younger members of the community, however some older or more vulnerable residents can find the celebrations quite distressing.

“This partnership project will really help people to strike the right balance so that those who want to get involved in the festivities can do so in a safe manner while still respecting the needs of those who may feel uncomfortable or even scared at this time. Our aim is to help residents to stay safe, feel reassured and ensure that children and young people understand the impact that anti-social behaviour can have on other people.”

Cllr Stephen Doyle, Cabinet member for Community Development, said: "Incidents of anti-social behaviour and the fear of anti-social behaviour always increase over the Halloween period, closely followed by bonfire and firework celebrations.

"This new, highly visible Spooks & Sparklers initiative aims to reduce the number of incidents of ASB during this period, offer reassurance to the public, educate younger children as to what is right and wrong and help to keep all sections of the community safe during this time."

Chief Inspector Steve Smith, Commander of Tamworth Local Policing Team (LPT), said: "Both Halloween and Bonfire Night can be busy periods for everyone, in particular the emergency services.

"This campaign is a great opportunity for all partners to work together and offer early education to young people, through advice and activities, about their actions and serves to keep our communities safe and reassured."