Rory Best kicks off new Girlguiding Ulster child farm safety initiative

Launching the new Girlguiding Ulster child farm safety badge is Six Nations winning rugby star and YFCU Patron Rory Best, with Sarah McKee from Ballydown Rainbows.'Picture: Michael Cooper
Launching the new Girlguiding Ulster child farm safety badge is Six Nations winning rugby star and YFCU Patron Rory Best, with Sarah McKee from Ballydown Rainbows.'Picture: Michael Cooper

The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) has teamed up with Girlguiding Ulster and Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster to help raise awareness about child safety on farms.

Through a new badge scheme, HSENI hopes to reach more than 6,000 young members and their families to help spread the farm safety message.

By participating in the new scheme, local Rainbows and Brownies will earn a merit badge for completing tasks and activities specifically geared to promote farm safety.

Launching the new badge, Six Nations winning rugby star and YFCU Patron Rory Best said: “As someone who was raised on a farm, I fully understand the dangers that farms can present to children and I am honoured to help launch this new child safety initiative. Girlguiding Ulster plays a very important role in the social fabric of many of our rural communities and I am confident that our young people will put every effort into making the new scheme a success. Given the considerable challenges in improving farm safety, it is vital to get everyone onside to support the excellent work being done to help protect our children from death and injury on farms.”

Girlguiding Ulster Chief Commissioner Carole Graham added: “Girlguiding Ulster is delighted to team up with HSENI again after the success of our carbon monoxide badge.

“As an organisation for all girls and young women, whatever their background and circumstances, we aim to reach out into urban and rural communities and encourage our members to take part in this very worthwhile initiative. We are also very pleased to have the support and co-operation of the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster and we will be encouraging our members to visit local farms and contact the Young Farmers for any help or advice they may need.

“Over the coming months our Rainbows and Brownies will work hard to help raise awareness about farm safety. It is good for girls of all ages to learn about and talk about safety with their families and friends and to help promote a culture of safety first on Northern Ireland’s farms.”

HSENI has provided Girlguiding Ulster with a range of print and online resources to be shared and promoted under the new badge scheme. A key element is to encourage young people and their families to watch HSENI’s two short child farm safety videos, produced as part of HSENI’s ‘Be Aware Kids -- Child Safety on Farms Campaign’.

The two videos are aimed at two specific age groups, ‘Dangerous Playgrounds’ for four to eight year olds and ‘Farm Safe’ for eight to 11 year olds. You can view both on HSENI’s YouTube channel.