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Issue Date:- 13 October 2008

Junctions - the young drivers blind spot?

YOUNG male drivers cope better at busy junctions than young females, according to figures released by the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) to mark European Road Safety Day.

The most common accident for a young driver in an urban area is at a junction. 43% of young men and 46% of young women struggle to cope with busy intersections in towns and cities. 

The IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) is using European Road Safety Day to call on parents, the education system and insurance industry to play their part in educating young motorists on the hazards of city driving.

Kevin Delaney, IAM Head of Road Safety said:- "The majority of young drivers have the right attitude to driving but aren't fully prepared for dealing with more complicated junctions, which they may not have come across in order to pass their driving test."

Earlier this year the IAM report "Young drivers - where and when they are unsafe" highlighted three areas in which young drivers could be helped by those with more experience. The report analysed almost a quarter of a million collisions over a 7 year period.

Parents: encourage teenagers to undertake an advanced driver training programme, and accompany them on drives, both before and after they have passed their test, to give them experience of a wide variety of road layouts and junctions. Ideally this additional driving experience should be a condition for accessing the family car.

The education system: Integrate road safety education into core school curriculum subjects so young people develop a self-taught awareness of the risks and responsibilities of using the road as a driver, rider or passenger.

The insurance industry: Recognise the benefits of additional driving practice with a parent and set insurance premiums to encourage parents to allow their children practice in the family car.

European Road Safety Day, 13 October 2008, has the theme this year of "safety in our cities."

Olympic Gold Medallist Gets Physical with Tots and Parents during National Children’s Activity Week

SALLY Gunnell, OBE, Olympic Gold medallist and broadcaster, joined a group of three year olds, and their parents as they got physical during National Children’s Activity Week. National Children’s Activity Week, is an annual campaign organised by Tumble Tots, leaders in physical activity in the UK, to promote the benefits of getting active from a young age, to nation that is reported to have 1 million obese children. Tumble Tots’ message is:- "Parents have to be active role models in order to buck the trend of obesity in children."

“If children are to be encouraged to exercise, then parents need to be involved by making activities fun for the children. Developing children’s basic physical skills is the first step to making activities enjoyable. The more they develop their skills, the more confident they get, and they then get even more enjoyment from physical activity.  The earlier we start this the better placed they are for PE and sports during their school years.” 
said Sally Gunnell, OBE, Olympic gold medallist and mother of three active boys who is her self an avid supporter of Tumble Tots’ National Children Activity Week campaign.

“It was great fun. For the first time in a Tumble Tots class parents also got to work out as well! We had the whole class, children, parents and staff up and moving to a vigorous routine. What’s more they where all excited that Sally Gunnell had join them.”
said Sally Preston, franchisee of Tumble Tots Crosby.

For more information about the group please ring Lawrence or Sally Preston on:- 01704 573435/ 07764 995192.

Free leisure passes for senior citizens

EVERY Liverpool resident over 60 is being offered free swimming, gym membership, badminton, squash and tennis.  It is part of an ambitious drive to improve the health and fitness of the city’s 70,000 senior citizens.

The city council and Liverpool Primary Care Trust (PCT) wants every adult to take part in 30 minutes of physical activity 5 times a week and reduce the growing problem of obesity and help people stay healthy.  The Senior Lifestyles Card comes in on December 1 offering free use of all 13 city council Lifestyles Centres including swimming pools, gyms and squash, badminton and tennis courts.

City council leader Warren Bradley said:- “This is a fantastic offer which will be of real and lasting benefit to thousands of senior citizens in the city. We are committed to doing everything we can to get everyone as fit and healthy as possible and helping reduce heart disease and obesity - the biggest killers among older people.  The investment in this scheme will be worth every penny and will not only help improve the quality of life for thousands, but in the longer term save the council and the NHS a small fortune by reducing care costs and medical bills.

I am encouraging every one of Liverpool’s seniors to take up this great offer. Once you take the plunge, improving fitness can be fun as well as rewarding. Join up with your friends and neighbours. Our centres have trained experts who will help you every step on the way to a new, healthier you.”

The city council already offers free leisure facilities to 60,000 under 17s in Liverpool. Since it was launched in 2006, the “Lifestyle Futures” programme increased the number of young people using leisure centres by a massive 60 percent. It is hoped the senior citizens’ scheme will attract a similar increase.  The free Senior Lifestyle Card will cost £200k per year to run, and is jointly funded by Liverpool City Council and Liverpool PCT and a full review will be carried out after four months to evaluate the scheme and decide on the long term free use of leisure facilities.

Gideon Ben Tovim, chair of Liverpool PCT said:- “Liverpool Active City is already one of the leading programmes in the country and this fantastic initiative demonstrates that it continues to be forward thinking and proactive in its approach.  This is another example of the millions of pounds that Liverpool PCT is spending to tackle some of the city’s major health problems, such as obesity, alcohol issues, smoking and health inequalities.

Undertaking healthy lifestyle changes, such as becoming more active, can help to lengthen your life so this initiative will make a positive difference to the health of our older residents in the city.  This initiative will also compliment Liverpool’s Challenge, a year long campaign being managed by the PCT, which is asking the city to join together to collectively pledge to lose a million pounds of weight and adopt healthier lifestyles.”

John Marsden from Active City, a council and PCT project to get people in the city taking more exercise, said:- “This initiative is great news for our Active City campaign as we strive to enable the people of Liverpool to be more active, more often.  Together with improvements to physical health which the Active Ageing programme will bring, there will also be benefits to mental well-being through participants having fun and making new friends."

The new scheme in Liverpool goes much further than a new government scheme encouraging councils to offer free swimming for over 60s from next April.

Mr David Whitehill, 74, a regular user of the Lifestyles fitness centre in Wavertree, said:- “I enjoy the company and keeping fit at the same time. The exercise helps me keep mobile and healthy.  I think free membership is a great idea and will encourage lots more people to get out of the house and stay healthy. Regular exercise helps keep your mind alert too.”

The new Senior Lifestyles Card is only available to residents aged 60 years or over who reside within the boundaries of Liverpool City Council. Application forms for the new Senior Lifestyles Card will be available from November 1 at all Lifestyles centres, or can downloaded from the city council’s website at  Proof of age and residency in the city will need to be provided.  The new scheme does not include golf or any coached activity or team sport. Free access to the city’s Lifestyle Centres is from the time of opening to 4pm each weekday and from 12 noon at weekends. It will be subject to the opening hours of each centre and availability outside organised group activities.

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