Allianz, one of the biggest insurers in the UK and a large employer in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP), is helping to keep children and vulnerable people safe by partnering with BCP Council to operate KidZone.
The initiative, which has been running for 16 years, seeks to protect and reunite lost children or vulnerable adults with their families across the busy coastline throughout peak summer.
This year, Allianz KidZone will be running from 14 July – 3 September.
The scheme provides essential support to the seafront team working in conjunction with Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Dorset Police. Visitors will be able to collect free wristbands from specially trained Allianz KidZone volunteers, BCP Seafront Staff or RNLI Lifeguard Towers.
Their location, for example Durley Chine, and their parent or guardian’s phone number will then be written onto the band and in the event children or vulnerable adults get separated during the day, staff will be able to reunite them with their friends and family.
Over the years, the scheme has reunited hundreds of children and vulnerable adults who have become separated from their parents, guardians or carers.
Last year alone, over 80,000 wristbands were distributed and around 350 lost children or vulnerable adults were reunited in an average of just eight minutes.
Discussing the new partnership, Heather Smith, Managing Director of Retail at Allianz, said:
“We are really pleased to be partnering with BCP Council and supporting what is an incredibly valuable initiative that directly supports the local community.
“Our business has a strong heritage in the area and we know all too well the importance of ensuring that what we care about is kept safe, so to be able to continue running KidZone is something we are incredibly proud to be helping with.
“People visiting the beach this summer can look out for Allianz KidZone signs and pick up a wristband from the Allianz KidZone, BCP seafront staff or RNLI lifeguard towers.”
Councillor Millie Earl, Deputy Leader of BCP Council and Portfolio Holder for Connected Communities, commented:
“The KidZone initiative plays an important role in improving safety for children and vulnerable adults who visit our beaches and has proved a massive success since its launch in 2007.
“The summer of 2023 looks set to be extremely busy, which can increase the risk of people becoming separated. As such, we are delighted to be running the KidZone initiative again this year in partnership with Allianz, who share our unreserved commitments to beach safety and welfare.”
Chief Superintendent Heather Dixey, BCP and Seasonal Demand Commander for Dorset Police, added:
“The scheme is fantastic in helping council officials to reunite lost children and vulnerable adults on the beach with their families and carers. Sadly, we see a significant number of people reported missing on our busy beaches throughout the summer period, which can be a frightening experience for everyone involved.
“We would encourage parents and carers to collect an Allianz KidZone wristband, write their phone number on it and take a picture of their loved ones that morning, so there is an accurate and up-to-date image of the person and what they are wearing should they happen to wander off.
“Please ensure you contact the beach rangers, RNLI Lifeguard towers or police as soon as possible if someone goes missing.”
The beaches listed below are operating Allianz KidZone this summer. Parents and Carers are advised to visit a participating beach and locate themselves close to an RNLI Lifeguard Tower, in case they require assistance.
Bournemouth: Alum Chine, Durley Chine, Bournemouth West, Bournemouth East, Bournemouth Far East (multi-coloured huts), Boscombe West, Boscombe East, Manor Steps, Fisherman’s Walk, Southbourne.
Christchurch: Avon, Friars Cliff, Highcliffe.
Poole: Sandbanks, Shore Road, Branksome Chine.