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Local school children visit Southern Water's works

Yesterday, three classes of four and five year olds were able to discover just what the team who are working close to their school, are doing and why they always wear hard hats and high visibility clothing. 

The idea for Byron School pupils to visit one of Southern Water's sites in Gillingham has been in the pipeline for some time. 

Southern Water is over a third of the way through an £8million water main upgrade scheme in Gillingham, Chatham and Rochester to replace 29km of water mains, some of which are 85 years old. 

The children at Byron School took part in the visit as part of this term's 'People Who Help Us' topic. 

Early Years Foundation Stage Phase Leader, Rebecca Masters, organised the visit and said: "Finding out more about the water main works here will give the children an opportunity to look at how people working on the roads are helping us.

"We are also hoping this experience will open up lots of opportunities for the children to talk about how to stay safe around sites where people are working.
The children had an absolutely fantastic time on their visit; one child even said the experience was awesome!"

Byron School's youngsters were also able to see the latest trenchless digging technology and discover how the work underway in the local community is helping deliver high quality water to their homes.

Once they return to the classroom, they will be taking part in a Health and Safety competition.

Andy Bird from Southern Water's delivery partners, Clancy Docwra, said: "The children were so keen to ask questions, it really was a rewarding day. They were able to try on our hard hats and understand that safety around works sites is a priority for all of us." 

He added: "Many of our late night call outs come after barriers have been pushed into work trenches which can make it difficult to use the footpath or road safely. 

"If we can educate youngsters at primary school, they are more likely to stay away from sites that have been made unsafe. I am looking forward to visiting Byron School in a few weeks to award prizes in the competition."

Southern Water Assistant Project Manager, Ewan Taylor, said: "It was great to meet some of the younger members of the community and we want to thank all the residents and Byron School for their understanding whilst our work is underway. We’d also like to assure everyone we will continue to minimise disruption while installing the new water pipe. 

"We are committed, throughout the works, to liaising with residents, schools and Medway Council's highways department to manage the impact."

The work is on schedule and expected to be complete by the end of 2017.

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