Learning centre now has even more in store for visitors thanks to major national retailer

From left, Co-op Format Range and Space Manager Les Old, Safety Central Development Officer Hazel Crampton, Safety Central Volunteer Ranger Steph Plunkett, Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Assistant Chief Fire Officer Gus O’Rourke and Kelsie and Thomas from Year 5 at Locking Stumps Community Primary School open the new mock convenience storeLifeskills education at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s award-winning learning centre has become even more interactive thanks to a generous early Christmas present from a major national retailer.

Working with its construction partners, the Co-op has installed a realistic new mock convenience store at Safety Central in Lymm.

It will be used to teach thousands of schoolchildren, young people and community groups about a range of important safety and lifestyle issues, including healthy eating, food labelling, age restrictions on certain products and the impact and implications of shoplifting and anti-social behaviour.

The investment of over £30,000 has created a lifelike set featuring shop fittings, signage, a counter and a working till that you would expect to find in a real Co-op store. New co op store at Safety Central

Shelves have been stocked with non-perishable items and packaging that Safety Central’s team can use in a range of hands-on activities and scenarios with visitors.

Centre Manager Mark Shone said: “I can’t thank the Co-op and its partners enough for supporting our efforts to help people stay safe, well and happy.

“The convenience store is a popular and vital part of our interactive learning environment. Thanks to the Co-op’s hard work and generosity, it is now even more realistic and interactive. Features like a working till programmed to react when age-restricted products are scanned will really bring learning to life.

“I am sure our volunteer rangers and visitors of all ages will thoroughly enjoy losing themselves in the activities the mock convenience store will host in the coming years.”

Children from Locking Stumps Community Primary School in Birchwood, Warrington, were the first to use the new store when they visited on Monday 9 December.

Activities for young children include a healthy shopping basket challenge and understanding what to do if they get separated from their parents whilst out and about.

Teenagers learn about age restrictions on different products and the consequences of being ‘dared’ to steal something by their friends.
Older visitors receive tips on how to keep their money, bank and credit cards and PIN numbers safe.

Les Old, Co-op Format Range and Space Manager, who helped to organise the retailer’s involvement with Safety Central, said: “At the heart of the Co-op it is about creating social value in our communities, making a difference.

“Health, safety and security are top priorities for the Co-op.

“We are delighted to support the centre, which provides an interactive, informative and enjoyable opportunity to equip young people with skills, knowledge and information that will serve them well outside the classroom and throughout their future lives.”

The new Co-op forms part of the Safety Central’s ‘Safer Choices’ zone, which also includes a police custody facility, a magistrates’ courtroom and an online safety suite.

There are three other zones at the centre, which has welcomed more than 17,000 visitors since it opened its doors in July 2017 and uses world-class special effects and theme park-standard scenery to simulate everyday risks and hazards.

The centre’s original mock convenience store, installed by Tesco, has been dismantled and donated to Skillzone, Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service’s safety education centre.

For more details about Safety Central, including information on how schools or community groups can book to visit the centre, go online at Safety Central

Related images


From left, Co-op Format Range and Space Manager Les Old, Safety Central Development Officer Hazel Crampton, Safety Central Volunteer Ranger Steph Plunkett, Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Assistant Chief Fire Officer Gus O’Rourke and Kelsie and Thomas from Year 5 at Locking Stumps Community Primary School open the new mock convenience store
New co op store at Safety Central