By Nikki Kerr, Head of Fundraising
Last week Kidscape launched a series of video animations for pre-school children – Feeling Happy, Feeling Safe – designed to help introduce the concept of staying safe from all kinds of dangers to this young demographic. These videos were a few months in the making, but the story behind them goes back many years.
Kidscape’s founder, Michele Elliott, wrote the original Feeling Happy, Feeling Safe book back in 1991 in a joint project between Kidscape and the Home Office. The book contained seven short stories around general safety issues and was promoted via the Never Never Club, a 1980/90s campaign to teach children personal safety.
The book was a huge hit, particularly with professionals (nursery workers, social workers, primary school teachers) and the book went through a number of reprints. It continued to be available free of charge from the Home Office for many years until the late 2000s, when it finally went out of print.
There was an obvious need for these stories. Even after the original book was no longer available or being promoted, Kidscape received frequent calls asking for replacement or additional copies. The majority of callers were early years professionals, who had used the resource for many years with countless pre-school children and were desperate to continue this vital work.
Having identified this need, we knew that we needed to find a way of bringing Feeling Happy, Feeling Safe up to date, and decided that short animations would be the most appropriate way of doing this. Animations aren’t cheap though, and it took us a long time to find the funding to make this happen. Finally it was a successful Big Give Christmas Challenge in 2016 that raised the required funds to get the project off the ground.
It was a long-held dream of a number of Kidscape staff to make this project work, particularly our recently retired Chief Executive, who had used the resources herself in her days as a trainer. Now that we have launched Feeling Happy, Feeling Safe to the general public, and with it being freely available on our website and social media channels, we hope that Michele’s legacy will continue to live on and enable thousands more young children to learn how to keep themselves safe and happy.