Cycling and Cyber bullying among topical issues at LASER conference


Cyber bullying and how to prevent young cyclists being injured on the roads are some of the hard-hitting topics under the spotlight at a leading event on practical safety and risk education.

The LASER Alliance annual conference at Safeside in Birmingham will also examine the past, present and future of practical safety and risk education on February 20, from 10am to 3.30pm.

Road safety manager Duncan Vernon, from The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), will lead a discussion on whether more cycling has to mean more casualties. It is particularly pertinent at a time when the Department for Transport is investing up to £42million in cycling infrastructure nationwide until 2015 through the Cycle City Ambition Grant, and more children are being encouraged to get on their bikes.

Other speakers include Leah Sareen, from Nottinghamshire County Council, who will discuss cyber bullying and how to work with young people to design e-safety lessons as concern for the online issue grows. Meanwhile, David Wells, from the child and maternal health intelligence network of Public Health England, looks at accessing information about unintentional injuries, and Andy Townsend, from Lifeskills Bristol, reviews where practical safety and risk education is heading.

Metropolitan Police officer Richard Graham will talk about involving young people in projects, and West Midlands Fire Service will discuss how to recruit, retain and train a diverse team of volunteers. Other fascinating topics to be highlighted during the day range from water safety to copyright issues of filming with children and young people.

Cassius Francis, LASER Alliance co-ordinator and RoSPA’s youth liaison worker, said: “This year’s conference focuses on many topical issues. They are pertinent subjects that our regional champions have highlighted as being particularly useful to organisations working with young people.

“We have identified speakers who can really deliver on addressing these varied and important issues that are all relevant to practical safety and risk education, so it is sure to be a day of useful insights. This is particularly important when we know that accidents are the most common cause of death in children over the age of one, and more than one million children under the age of 15 attend A&E every year after injuring themselves in accidents in and around the home.”

The Alliance, which is hosted by RoSPA and sponsored by the Gas Safety Trust, promotes children and young people “learning about safety by experiencing risk” (from where the acronym “LASER” is drawn). It brings together UK-based organisations and individuals that believe in this ethos.

Organisations working with children and young people that are interested in attending the conference or joining the LASER Alliance should phone Cassius Francis on 0121 248 2025 or email More information is available on the LASER Alliance website -

For photographs and other requests email: or call 0121 248 2135.

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