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New trio is a powerful boost for skills for life learning

Three new recruits will help Dorset skills for life charity SafeWise roll out new programmes to wider audiences as it continues with ambitious development plans for its learning villages in Bournemouth and Weymouth.

Experienced teacher Sue Sharpe has been appointed as Programmes Manager, and is joined by Programme Development Officer Sarah Jane Woods and SafeWise Weymouth site supervisor Steve Dewland.

In addition to years clocked up in the classroom, Sue, from Wool, has worked in various education roles, including with English National Ballet and English Touring Opera, and brings a wide of range of skills and knowledge to the newly created role at SafeWise.

Sue said: “The first time I looked around the SafeWise learning villages I thought they were fantastic because the big thing is ‘doing’ not ‘talking’, so children and other visitors learn through hands on experience, and that cements the message in their minds.”

Programmes Development Officer Sarah Jane Woods, from Creekmoor, will work with Sue on developing new programmes including older people and young people leaving home for the first time. She will also work to integrate financial education into all scripts at an appropriate level.

Sarah Jane, who brings a host of contacts and project management skills after working for the NHS, local authorities and other organisations, said: “I’m passionate about life skills, and am looking forward to using all my knowledge and experience to forge forward and drive the new programmes to success.”

Sue and Sarah Jane will work across the charity’s centres, and are joined by Steve Dewland who is based at SafeWise Weymouth as Site Supervisor, who will help keep the centre up and running on a daily basis.

Portlander Steve has been Site Supervisor for large masonry companies across the country as well as at sand and gravel quarries, where he was responsible for large teams and projects.

Steve’s also been in demand across the UK to carry out big restoration and conservation jobs on historic buildings, including landmark buildings in central London.

He is already putting his skills to good use to develop recently introduced scenarios at SafeWise Weymouth, including a beach, campsite, park, electricity sub-station, double decker bus and railway.

Steve said: “I had retired and was looking for something to stop me getting bored that would make a difference.I saw the SafeWise job come up, which is a good cause and may help save a kiddie’s life one day, which is what it’s all about.”
The new developments mean that SafeWise now needs more volunteer visitor guides to help schools, groups and other visitors learn essential skills for life in its learning villages in Bournemouth and Weymouth. Call 01202 591330, email vo*******@sa******.org or go to to find out more.

Chief Executive Rob Hattersley said: “I would like to welcome Sarah Jane, Steve and Sue to SafeWise, and say a big thank you to our funders and sponsors that have made their recruitment possible, especially Wessex Water, Dorset Council, Postcode Lottery and Strategic Solutions.”

“It’s a great time to join SafeWise as we launch exciting new programmes, and continue with ambitious development plans at our learning villages in Bournemouth and Weymouth.

“We are recruiting right now for volunteer visitor guides so get in touch if you fancy getting involved with SafeWise being on board for the next exciting stage of our journey.”

Paul Appleby
Author: Paul Appleby