Firefighters helping to transform lives in Huntingdonshire

Firefighters in Huntingdon and St Neots have been supporting young people in Cambridgeshire by teaming up with Huntingdonshire Community Safety Partnership’s Transforming Lives Programme.

The initiative supports vulnerable young people in the community by helping to build self-esteem and raise aspirations. The project was developed in response to increased levels of concern in relation to young people entering the criminal justice system and a recognition that public service partners had a part to play in trying to address this.

Two sessions of the scheme were held at fire stations in the County, the first in St Neots and the second in Huntingdon. As part of each workshop; one with boys and one with girls, attendees got the opportunity to take part in practical exercises, getting the chance to try out some specialist equipment.

The boys session took place at St Neots, and was aimed at providing them with the skills and knowledge to assist them to keep themselves safe, and potentially save the lives of others in the event that they come across an emergency situation. During the session they got to learn basic first aid, and practice CPR.

Michael Kaoura from Cambridgeshire County Council’s Early Help Team in St Neots said: “The session thoroughly engaged the boys and highlighted the risks around road traffic and fire safety. It was an interactive session that got the group practicing first aid, CPR and problem solving activities.

“All the boys came away from the situation feeling confident that they would be able to assist and follow the right protocol in the case of emergency and with a better understanding of the fire service.”

The girls session was held at Huntingdon, and taught them about the risks of getting into cars with those who might put them at risk and the dangers of road traffic collisions. They also learnt more about the role of the fire service and what a day in the life of a firefighter looks like. During the session they got the chance to take part in some hands-on activities and have a go at some of the firefighter assessment exercises.

Lynette Ippolito, Early Help Assistant Manager - Youth, Huntingdon and St Ives District Team commented on the partnership: “The session with the fire service has been an important and powerful aspect of the project. It not only helped the girls understand the possible consequences of getting into a car, but has also helped raise their aspirations for the future.”

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service lead for Children and Young People Safety, Station Commander Tony Burton commented: “These sessions were a fantastic opportunity to engage with young people in the county, and give them a positive experience of their local emergency services.

“We hope they came away knowing that we’re here to help people, and feel encouraged and inspired about their own career prospects and aspirations."

Sarah Tabbitt, Head of Service for Early Help and Chair of the Huntingdonshire Community Safety Partnership said: “This project has been a great example of what Community Safety Partnerships can achieve by collaboration of partners to make a tangible impact on the lives and aspirations of  young people in our community.”