DOE – Road Safety Grants

doe-grant A couple of months back we picked up an announcement that the DOE (Department Of The Environment) Road Safety Grants Programme for the Voluntary & Community Sector (Northern Ireland), administered by – Community Transport Association (CTA) would not be available in this current financial year – 2015/2016.

Right To Ride had applied successfully over the past few years to the Road Safety Grant Scheme and received funding for the motorcycle safety initiatives Ride It Right and First Aid For Riders.

A massive reduction in the DOE budget (affected by other happenings in the Northern Ireland Assembly) would mean that around £140,000 (last year’s grant total) would have no longer been available for local and innovative road safety projects by and for local people in their own areas across Northern Ireland.

Projects such as:

  • Beam Creative Network – Driving Miss Maisy – a short drama piece for elderly road users on road safety awareness
  • Greater Shantallow Community Arts a contemporary multi-media/dance performance, to an invited audience of young people and other guests
  • Millisle Youth Forum a short film and fantastic message to protect our older road users
  • Journey to School Road Safety Songbook for children and teachers in KS1 – road safety lyrics set to well-known nursery rhyme tunes
  • Richmond Rural Community Association – Be seen at night on country roads – project was designed to make children and parents aware of the importance of being easily seen either walking or cycling at night and included fitting lights to children’s bicycles and supplying reflective arm bands, dog collars and distributing advice leaflets would never see the light of day.

At the time the CTA stated that it hoped, “The opportunity to resurrect the DOE Road Safety Grant might come again in 2016/17 or in the next Programme for Government. Local action does help to raise awareness and to save lives. Until then please do keep safe on our roads.”

Hallelujah – Resurrected!

In a complete turnaround for the better, the Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has now launched the Road Safety Grant Scheme for 2015/16, which will be managed “in house” by the DOE.

The Road Safety Grant Scheme has been running since 2010 and has awarded more than £600,000 to 75 projects.

Individuals and groups from the voluntary and community sector can apply for grants of up to £10,000, although we have not seen any figures for the total amount available, to develop and run local road safety projects.

Individuals can only apply for funding if they are working in partnership with a community group, which must be involved in the application process. To qualify, groups must be properly constituted, have a bank account and be able to complete the project by 4th March 2016.

Toolkit

doe-toolkitThe DOE have also launched a road safety Community Toolkit which they say is aimed to encourage people themselves to educate and debate the life-changing issue of road safety among their peers. Whether it is local sports clubs, youth organisations or any local community group, it will enable organisations and leaders to bring road safety initiatives to people in their community.

In the toolkit, organisations will find the resources they need to host and facilitate short group sessions about a variety of road safety issues. The tools include: a DVD with six different sessions; a booklet outlining the messages to be communicated during each session; step-by-step guides to using the templates; and advice on planning, promoting and evaluating events.

The material includes Crashed Lives real life accounts, a Consultant detailing brain injury, and the PSNI’s e-Crime Unit interrogation of mobile phone activity and outlining the law regarding careless driving. Fascinating stuff which in our opinion will not make any difference to road user behaviour – but we have given up trying to convince the DOE that guilt trips don’t work.

The evangelic mission of certain elements in the DOE Road Safety Unit to highlight the deviant behaviour of those who are involved in collisions has just left us nonplussed.

The toolkit is available through the DOE “road safety” website Share The Road To Zero.

Apply For A Grant

As we mentioned in the past motorcycle safety initiatives have received funding from the scheme which we have managed. Another initiative is the Biker NI Safety (Crash) Card which we funded for the first year, the second year was funded by PSNI Bikesafe outside the constraints for the grant scheme.

However if you have thoughts about a project and you can fit the project within the boundaries of qualification then give it a go with the DOE and get an application in!

The deadline for applications is 12pm on 10th July 2015.

Original Sources – DOE (Department Of The Environment – Road Safety Grant Safety Community Toolkit

Links & Information

Road Safety Grant Scheme – Click Here

Safety Community Toolkit – Click Here

Ride It Right – www.rideitright.org

First Aid For Riders – www.firstaidforriders.org

Biker NI Safety (Crash) Card – www.bikernisafetycard.org

Footnote

Next year, which also sees elections for the Northern Ireland Assembly, the number of Northern Ireland Departments is to be cut from twelve to nine. This will mean that all the DOE Department Of The Environment Road Safery Functions will be amalgamated into a new department, probably with a new minister, along with the to be defunct DRD – Department For Regional Development which included Roads Service/Transport NI in time for the 2016 Assembly election.

A quick explanation would be that the DOE looked after the safety on the roads of users, the DRD looked after the safety of the roads but also included cycle safety and sustainable travel and parking (which is now transferred in the main to the new “super” councils which saw Northern Ireland Councils reduced from twenty-six to eleven.

The PSNI – Police Service for Northern Ireland has or is aligning its Districts with these new local councils as part of the Review of Public Administration (RPA) – councils and district policing partnerships who also delve into road safety have some “realigning” to do in respect of road safety. Hopefully we will still see the operation of the PSNI’s Bikesafe rider assessment scheme.

The new department will be called, “The Department for Infrastructure” according to a political agreement at Stormont and will, “exercise the existing responsibilities of DRD, but will also take on a range of functions from other existing departments – vehicle regulation, road safety and Driver and Vehicle Agency functions from DOE; the Rivers Agency from DARD; inland waterways from DCAL; and from OFMDFM (Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister) the Strategic Investment Unit and several regeneration sites, including the Crumlin Road Gaol.”

Wonderful stuff!

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