Speech by Liam McGurrin
Children’s Safety Education Foundation
Good morning everyone my name is Liam McGurrin, and I am a Trustee of the Children’s Safety Education Foundation, a national charity dedicated to the promotion of Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship education to children and young people nationally.
We are delighted to launch this Safer Strangers, Safer Buildings
campaign in partnership with the Suzy Lamplugh Trust and Kidscape and would like to take this opportunity to thank Katy Jones from Child’s Eye Media for creating a wonderful film which will enable children to make an informed decisions in potentially hazardous situations.
I have been a Trustee of CSEF since its inception, and was a teacher for the past 38 years and a head teacher for 25 of those years. During that time I have spoken to thousands of parents and they always stressed two basic requirements from the school. When you speak to parents of 4 year olds on their Induction evening, they are not as concerned with English, Maths or Science... they merely want their children to be “Safe and Happy”. When you speak to parents on open evenings, their first request is to enquire if their child is Safe and Happy. Academic success and sporting success usually follows when children are Safe and Happy.
When Henry Winkler, the Fonz in Happy Days, was receiving his honorary degree from Yale University, he made an inspiring speech which was broadcast on BBC Radio 4. He said that every opportunity must be made available to the Community’s youth – they must be free to achieve, confident in their abilities and encouraged to pursue their gifts and talents.
“The future of the community, the country and the world is in direct correlation to our children being safe enough and open enough to meet their destiny. (There’s that words SAFE again!)
We have been teaching “Say No to Strangers” for too many years, even though we know that the main threat to children will come from people they know. To quote Barack Obama ‘It’s time to change’
This new Safer strangers, safer buildings
campaign will re-educate children and encourage them to seek out safe havens. It will become an instinctive reaction to the threat of danger and will make their world a better place. I would encourage you to promote the availability of this film to the nation’s parents and carers so that all children can benefit from the messages it contains.
As parents and carers we should remember the words of Kahlil Gibran, the Lebanese poet
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
Help us to make sure that the future of our nation’s children is Safe and Happy.