New ‘van-tage’ point for road safety messages Date published: 15th October 2019 12.10pm

A new ice cream van in Crewe advertises much more than cold treats thanks to the efforts of police cadets and teenagers working towards a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

Crewe Police Cadets, and youngsters being supported by Cheshire East Council’s Youth Support Service, have designed an ice cream van displaying road safety messages.

Forty six people died on Cheshire’s roads last year, and there have been more than 25 further fatal collisions in the county in 2019.

Crewe-based Whitby Morrison has made the ‘partners in crime - keeping the community cool’ van to the teenagers’ design in a bid to help reduce the number of serious collisions in the town.

The engineering company has also kindly donated hundreds of ice creams that will be handed out from the van for free at upcoming events.

Police Community Support Officer Lizzie Jolley, the Crewe Police Cadets Leader, said: “I can’t thank Whitby Morrison enough for making the van and donating hundreds of ice creams.

“The van and the ice creams will be utilised at several events run by Crewe Police Cadets and teenagers who are supported by Youth Support Service.

“The ice creams will be handed out for free but those who receive them will be given the option to make a donation to charity.

“Cheshire Constabulary launched its Fatal 5 campaign earlier this year to highlight the five main contributory factors that cause serious road traffic collisions – careless driving, drink and drug driving, not wearing a seatbelt, using a mobile phone and speeding.

“The van gives us a new means of conveying road safety messages to the public.”

The new £80,000 van stems from a Facebook post from Whitby Morrison looking for innovative design ideas for its ice cream vans.

PCSO Jolley said: “I saw the post and called Whitby Morrison up the next day.

“With Crewe Police Cadets and teenagers who are supported by Youth Support Service meeting at the same building in Market Street in Crewe on Mondays and Thursdays, I suggested that they work on the project together.

“Whitby Morrison thought that it was a great idea and we have been able to tie it in with the teenagers’ Duke of Edinburgh’s Award work.

“The Youth Support Service teenagers and the cadets attended several workshops and worked very hard on coming up with a fitting design for the new ice cream van that encapsulates the main attractions of Crewe and advertises road safety and equal opportunities for all.

“Now that it has been made, they are all delighted with how the van looks and are looking forward to using it at upcoming events.”

She runs Crewe Police Cadets sessions with fellow PCSO Sarah Shaw.

They are part of the force’s Volunteer Police Cadets programme, which provides an opportunity for young people aged between 15 and 18 to join the policing family, giving them an insight into community policing whilst developing their life skills and self-confidence.

Run by Cheshire East Council, Youth Support Service is for young people aged 13 to 19, as well as people up to the age of 25 with additional needs.

It provides youth clubs and projects for young people to help them engage and participate through informal education, as well as opportunities for them to gain experience and develop skills in volunteering.

Cllr Dorothy Flude, cabinet member for children and families at Cheshire East Council, said: “Road safety is a key priority for both the council and our partners.

“This is a fabulous project combining the skills of our young people, the police and a local business and comes with a very serious message.

“We know that between the start of June 2017 and the end of May 2019 people aged 17 to 19 were involved in 8.5 per cent of the fatal and serious collisions in Cheshire.

“I look forward to seeing the ice cream van promoting road safety messages at events across the borough.”