A children’s charity has launched Highland Heroes Week to promote an important safety message for children.
The campaign aims to raise young people’s awareness of the heroes within their community – such as their local police officers, firefighters, teachers, and paramedics.
Children’s charity Safe Strong and Free launched the initiative three years ago to help keep children safe.
Project co-ordinator Kerry Glen said: “We came up with the concept of it because we deal with children being scared around strangers, but what we don’t want them to be is scared around all strangers – just in case they need to ask a stranger for help.
“We want to make sure that they know that everyone in the blue light services can be trusted and be there to help them because sometimes they might be the first people that are there and especially if they are in a distressing situation.
“They get to see the uniform, they get to identify them, and they get to learn a bit about what they do.”
To mark the launch of the campaign, around 22 nursery children from Andy Pandy’s nursery in Inverness met with police officers, firefighters and paramedics to learn about their different roles and responsibilities within the community.
Sergeant Richard Ross added: “Safe, Strong & Free do fantastic work with young people across the Highlands and we are very pleased to support them during events such as Highland Hero Week.
“This initiative is about ensuring that young people and their families are better informed about how to keep themselves safe.
“We want children to know police officers are there to help if they’re feeling vulnerable. Events such as Highland Hero Week are excellent ways of encouraging that.”
Members of the charity will conduct a number of visits to police and fire stations during the week-long campaign, as well as host a number of workshops within various nurseries and school.
She added: “It’s vitally important that they are aware they can be trusted and that they are there to help them, especially because we don’t know what anyone else is saying quite often.
“You might hear people saying: ‘If you’re bad, they will put you in jail” and then if the child is in a distressing situation and the police walk in, they might not want to talk.
“We need to make sure they see them as somebody they can speak to rather than be scared of them, because they shouldn’t be scared.”