An industrial building in Rotherham has been transformed into an imitation village. It features a Coronation Street type set which includes houses, a park, shops, a pub and some new areas such as a courthouse, an internet cafe and an accident and emergency department.
The Lifewise Centre is customised for interactive learning and is run by South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue where they and other agencies deliver safety advice to the public.
An example of the programmes ran at the centre is the "Crucial Crew", which is accessible to all year six primary school children in South Yorkshire. The development of the new centre which cost £215,000 means that, in addition to Crucial Crew, a wider and larger range of opportunities can be delivered. This includes the new ‘Get Lifewise’ event, which will educate elderly and vulnerable people in home security and fire safety. Other scenario-based learning programmes available at Lifewise are the; Safe Travel on Buses, Road Safety, Fire Safety and Arson, Antisocial behaviour, Internet Safety and First Aid. Barnsley Community Magistrates also lead a scenario in which the children experienced what happens to you in Youth Court.
The new and improved Lifewise centre which opened its doors on Tuesday 20th September to over 400 school children has received massive support from local businesses, tradespeople and volunteers in its construction. Each mock building has been sponsored by local businesses. This includes the corner pub which has been sponsored by Jason Mace, MD of Gala Tent Ltd a marquee and gazebo supplier and manufacturer based in Manvers. Jason who also owns a public house called the Park View Sports Bar and Restaurant in Swinton was given the opportunity to invest in the project and miniaturise his already successful Park View after a chance meeting with Nicky Holt, Commercial Director at Garnett Dickinson Publishing who has also sponsored a shop at the centre. Jason and Nicky are constantly looking for new community projects to get involved with and invest in to aid the revival of Rotherham.
Jason commented. “This has been a very fun and exciting project to be involved with. The hard work that has gone into this by local policeman Aref Mohammed and his colleagues is astounding and with a total saving of £200,000 it is an inspirational example of what communities can do together to improve their quality of life at a time when government spending is at its bare minimum.”
The new centre continues to be economically viable as it has allowed South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Fire Rescue to re-locate their staff from several community departments to Lifewise, which has brought further savings as well as a better service and the ability to extend opening hours.