Crucial Crew - 2018

A record number of pupils from local Primary schools attend Crucial Crew.

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Sudbury Crucial Crew - 2018

Sudbury Rotary Club’s nineteenth Crucial Crew, held during April, saw a record number of local youngsters take part. In all, 745 9/10-year old children from 28 schools gained invaluable safety experiences, bringing the total number to around 12,000 since the club introduced Crucial Crew nineteen years ago. Unlike other Crucial Crews in Suffolk, which are organised by the various District Councils, Sudbury Crucial Crew is funded, organised and run totally by the Rotary Club. 

Comments from some of the teachers who brought youngsters along included :-

  • Crucial Crew provides the children with a unique opportunity to grow and learn.
  • a vital resource to help equip our young people to take a responsible role within our society.
  • an invaluable opportunity for pupils to experience dangerous situations in a safe way.
  • Crucial Crew provides a vital service to our young people, who learn essential life skills in a safe environment. The equipment and facilities give a realistic impression of safety scenarios to the children that could not be done in school.

Schools were invited to come along to either a morning or afternoon session during Crucial Crew week. Their pupils were divided into ten groups of 8 or 9 children, and they were guided around a circus of ten different 14-minute scenarios by Rotarians, partners and friends. After an initial introduction, the children’s attention was grabbed with an attempted abduction, when they were left alone ‘en masse’ for a couple of minutes, during which time a ‘workman’ came along carrying a lot of boxes, which were dropped and a request was made for help to take the boxes to a car. A few youngsters could usually be persuaded to go out, before they were escorted back by a police officer, who warned them all of the dangers of going off with a stranger.

Each year, we note the feedback from the participating schools and, as a result,  two new scenarios were introduced for the first time. The first explored ‘bullying’ and we sought the help of one of Sudbury’s two secondary schools with a request for advice on available resources that we might use. Instead, Thomas Gainsborough School devised a short play to be delivered by a number of their Year 10 drama pupils and this turned out to be a tremendous success, with all who saw it commenting on the excellence of the acting and the message that was delivered.  A second group of drama pupils once again worked alongside the contingent of PCSO’s, to act as anti-social youths and drug users giving an extra dimension to the scenario dealing with anti-social behaviour and peer-group pressure, as it allowed the police to discuss and explain correct behaviour, depending on how the groups of children responded to the situation.  It was interesting to hear that many of the actors had themselves been through Crucial Crew a few years ago, as had a Teaching Assistant who came with one one of the schools.

The second new scenario was another great success and explored staying safe in the sun, with expert advice from Sarah, who represented a relatively new charity - Cancer Care in Suffolk. We were amazed that Sarah’s enthusiasm and ability to respond to each of the groups of youngsters was maintained throughout the week - even when the 90th and final group arrived at her scenario on the Friday afternoon.

Once again, our local Police Community Support Officers dealt with staying safe on the internet and transformed the club’s gazebo into a child’s bedroom, with posters, soft toys and even a bed to highlight the dangers associated with social media websites. It was very rewarding to see the concentration on children’s faces as they cuddled the toys and watched the CEOP video. The Dog’s Trust returned for a second year and a representative of the Trust again taught the youngsters about when not to approach a dog and also how they could best stroke a dog (with the owner’s permission).

Our ‘Water Safety’ scenario was very popular with the children, where members of Ipswich Lifesaving Club provided a completely inter-active experience, with the children rescuing each other from an imaginary lake with the use of  a piece of wood, a jumper, a cricket bat and lengths of rope. The usual mix of regular scenarios completed the programme, with Suffolk Fire Service once again using their ever popular mock-up of a child’s bedroom to great effect to point out areas of potentially high fire risk, before simulating a fire with theatrical smoke and rescue by a fireman wearing full breathing apparatus. There was an opportunity to make a ‘999-call’ to our own emergency operators and youngsters were also taught some first aid and how to move someone to the ‘recovery position’, as well as being given advice on staying safe on the road. The First-Aid scenario was delivered for the first time by Gryphon First Aid, a Sudbury based charity and Suffolk Roadside allowed us to use their equipment to highlight aspects of road safety.

So that the lessons learnt are reinforced, each pupil has access to material that supports continued learning at home and in the classroom via the Sudbury Crucial Crew website, which also provides key information for teachers prior to their visit.

To be successful, the project requires a terrific additional commitment from Rotarians, friends and anyone who can be encouraged to come along and help. In all, around 75 people helped with at least one session, including a number of Rotarians from other local Clubs, many of whom enjoy the experience so much that they return year after year. Our thanks go to all those who helped so willingly and in so many ways.

The whole event is organised, funded and run by Sudbury Rotary Club and thanks are due to our sponsors, who this year included :

Sudbury Town Council, 

Hadleigh Town Council, 

Suffolk Community Foundation (Suffolk Giving Fund), 

Ann Beaumont's Educational Foundation, 

Konings Juices & Drinks UK Ltd. 

and several participating schools.


And finally, our thanks to the following for their active support : 

Suffolk Fire & Rescue Service 

Suffolk Constabulary 

Gryphon First Aid 

Cancer Care in Suffolk 

Ipswich Lifesaving Club

Suffolk RoadSafe Partnership 

The Dog’s Trust 

Drama pupils from Year 10 of Thomas Gainsborough School

AFC Sudbury