It is every parent’s worst nightmare – their child going missing on a fun day out. As Southend gears up for the sunshine, the town’s BID organisation is re-launching its successful VisitSouthend Child Safety Scheme to help local and visiting families stay safe and reassured when they visit Southend.

 

Since they were launched in July 2013, over 100,000 bright yellow wristbands have been handed out to children and such has been their popularity and impact that 40,000 more have been ordered.

The bands will be available from approximately 30 participating businesses across the town centre and seafront. Parents and carers can collect a free wristband from shops, restaurants, shopping centres and leisure attractions. They then simply write their telephone number on the reverse and give it to the child to wear - meaning if the youngster inadvertently wanders off and is helped by a responsible adult, a quick phone call will soon reunite them with their family and friends. 

Adults will also be given cards to carry in their purse or wallet, giving clear and concise advice about what to do if a child in their care goes missing, including the all-important 101 number to call.

Almost 30 businesses now offer the wristbands in Southend;

Adventure Inside | Adventure Island | Animal  
Baskin Robbins | Beaches Bistro | Birdwood Café              
C2C Rail Station | Clarke’s Fish and Chips | Clinton Cards      
Forum Library | Happidrome | McDonalds (Top of High Street)
LAs Vegas Grill | McDonalds (Pier End) | Mr Simms | Odeon        
Pebbles One | Royals Shopping Centre | Sea Life Adventure      
Select | Southend Victoria Station | The Pier      
The Works | Three Shells | Toys N Tuck
Trespass | Victoria Shopping Centre | WH Smith | Wimpy Seafront  

 Southend BID Manager Alison Dewey says: “Southend is a super place to bring the kids for a day out but it can become very busy and with so much to see and do, youngsters can be tempted to wander off. The Child Safety Scheme has demonstrated that it goes a long way to reassuring families and, with our Street Rangers a highly visible resource to welcome and help visitors and local residents, we have made having fun in Southend even safer.”

Essex Police is firmly behind the scheme. Inspector Bill Potter who is responsible for Neighbourhood Policing in Southend town centre says: “With 6 million visitors every year, the population of Southend can, in certain circumstances, multiply tenfold. Consequently, it can take a lot of our time and effort trying to find and reunite lost children. Less children getting lost means I have more of my officers concentrating on the core work that the public wants them to do and less distressed children and their families suffering that agonising wait in between. This is a terrific scheme that really does work.”

Alan Dadswell, owner of Toys N Tuck is delighted to offer the free wristbands to their customers: “They’re an excellent idea and we’ve seen just how popular they are with people when you explain how they work and invite them to take one. You can see in their faces how reassured and happy they are when they see their kids wearing the bright yellow bands. Plus the children think they’re quite cool.”