Belfast Telegraph

Farm safety resource unveiled at Balmoral Show

An important new resource to promote farm safety in schools has been unveiled at the Balmoral Show following an Ulster Bank school’s competition, running in partnership with AgriKids and the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland.

Ulster Bank, the principal sponsor of the Show, invited school pupils to create a short-story highlighting one of the four key risk areas identified by the HSENI which are Slurry, Animals, Falls and Equipment. Children were also asked to incorporate the characters from popular book series AgriKids into their story to promote farm safety.

Four winners were selected from the hundreds of entries received by judges representing the key organisations involved and have been since compiled into an impressive book of short-stories which was officially launched at the Ulster Bank marquee on the first morning of the show.

The stories will also be available to download as an eBook free of charge, meaning that thousands of pupils across Northern Ireland will now be given the opportunity to learn about the important issue of farm safety.

Ulster Bank’s Senior Agricultural Manager Cormac McKervey says, “In Northern Ireland, farming is one of our most important industries but we are still seeing tragedies and fatal accidents occurring far too often. We believe that education has a centrally important role to play in helping to ensure the number of sad incidents continues to decrease and to prevent those working or living on a farm from taking unnecessary risks.”

“We were especially pleased to have the support of AgriKids, HSENI and the RUAS to help create this book of short-stories which we are confident will be a very useful learning resource for schools. I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to submit their entries and of course congratulate each of our four winners on their excellent ideas.”

Bryan Monson from the Health and Safety Executive says that finding new and innovative ways to keep promoting the issue of farm safety is essential to ensure the message resonates with our young people.

“We are very pleased that once again Ulster Bank has decided to actively encourage schools to pay closer attention to the issue of farm safety. The resource that has been created has the potential to play a key role in educating thousands of young people about the dangers playing on a farm can pose and give sound advice on how to stay safe. I would like to congratulate each of the four winners and look forward to using the book when we deliver our school talks.”

On top of having their idea professionally produced into a story book, each of the four winners will also receive a selection of goodies for themselves and books for their school courtesy of AgriKids along with a class pass to the Balmoral Show, including transport and lunch at the event provided by Ulster Bank.

The four winners were:

• Timothy Gilmore - Gorran Primary School, Garvagh

• Madison Rafferty – Down High School, Downpatrick

• Meredith Johnston – Tempo Primary School, Enniskillen

• Clidhna McTague – St. Patrick’s Primary School, Rasharkin

Further information about the RUAS Balmoral Show is available at: www.balmoralshow.co.uk

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