We're celebrating 30 years of Crucial Crew in Ipswich!

Published6th June 2024

Every year since 1994, a fortnight in June has seen the Council's Community Safety Team and partner organisations sharing great advice about personal safety with the town’s 10- and 11-year-olds. That’s more than 43,500 young people who’ve had a lot of fun while learning how to keep themselves and others safe.

2024 events are now under way, with over 1,500 children from 29 Ipswich schools booked for the two weeks (3 June – 14 June) that Crucial Crew is running this year.

On Wednesday 5 June, 90 students in Year 6 from Morland Primary School and St. Mary’s Primary School were joined by a special guest, the Mayor of Ipswich Elango Elavalakan, to mark the milestone 30th anniversary of the scheme.

A packed programme of activities was on offer inside and outside the venue at Inspire Suffolk in Lindbergh Road, Ipswich, delivering safety advice and awareness across a range of everyday situations. The children quickly got involved in a range of interactive scenarios from Suffolk Police, Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, and the charities Turning Point, Volunteering Matters and Lighthouse Women’s Aid, using role plays and workshops. Members of the Community Safety Team and Rotary Club of Ipswich, which has supported Crucial Crew over three decades, made sure everybody had fun while learning key messages around topics including online safety, substance misuse, unhealthy vs. healthy relationships, dangers of grooming or exploitation, choices and avoiding peer pressure, hate crime, anti-social behaviour, and fire safety.

Feedback on the day from the young attendees was that they all really enjoyed these sessions - with the Fire Pod proving a particular favourite for most, where firefighters described the dangers of what can cause fires, created a simulation where smoke enters the room, and showed them how to stay calm and what to do in this situation.

Kate Price, Assistant Director – Communities at Ipswich Borough Council, says: “Congratulations to our Community Safety Team on Crucial Crew’s 30th birthday, together with every one of our partners from local charities and agencies. They all give their time to educate our young people on vital personal safety and behaviour topics so they can be aware and stay safe, as they make that transition to secondary school and the wider world.”

Jim Manning, the Council’s former Head of Community Safety, says: “We set up Crucial Crew back in 1994 as a way of getting safety messages across to young children.  At the time we had no idea if what we were we going to achieve.  However, very quickly we were being fed back information from the schools on what they were hearing from their pupils...  

“One child followed the instructions her class had been given by the Fire Service and calmly guided the rest of her family out of their burning house.  Thanks to Crucial Crew, another knew how to help a parent who’d collapsed, by putting her into the recovery position then calling 999 for an ambulance.  A group of young lads were out playing when a friend fell and badly hurt himself.  One of the boys made a 999 call and one quickly went to a nearby house where he knew a nurse lived and got her to come and help.

“The team who ran the event were spurred on to keep the project running and schools became very keen to take part, even from neighbouring counties!  What is still being achieved makes me very proud to have been part of the team that set Crucial Crew up in Ipswich 30 years ago.”

Danielle Wright of Inspire Suffolk says:

“We are always thrilled to welcome Crucial Crew to our venue year after year. Its mission aligns perfectly with Inspire's core vision of promoting the well-being of children and young people in Suffolk.

“Over the past three decades, Crucial Crew has made an invaluable contribution to our community, educating and empowering countless young people with essential life skills and safety awareness. We’re grateful for our enduring partnership with Crucial Crew and look forward to continuing our collaboration.”