Fenland youngsters learn firefighting at Firebreak courses

A group of Fenland youngsters have been benefitting from fire service training to help develop team working skills, increase self-esteem and confidence and understanding the consequences of risk taking decision making.

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service has been hosting students from Thomas Clarkson Academy at Wisbech Fire Station. Led by the Service’ Community Development Instructors, the groups have been learning how to use hose reels, ladders, breathing apparatus and learning first aid through workshops and drill yard activities. The culmination of this involves a fire service style pass out parade in front of families, carers and school representatives, as well as other local councillors and dignitaries.

The week-long Firebreak course has been delivered to two groups of students at the fire station, which have been funded by Fenland District Council’s Community Safety team using the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority. In total 20 have attended over the courses.

Station Commander Paul Clarke, lead for Children and Young People at CFRS, said: “Firebreak provides young people with the opportunity to challenge themselves and carry out activities they never thought they could do. For some the opportunity to take part in this type of learning outside the classroom can really help them to reach their full potential, not only building their aspirations, but also helping them to learn about citizenship and public services. The difference we see in the students from day one to day five is vast and makes us all very proud.”

The Firebreak programme has been running for several years in Cambridgeshire and helps young people develop themselves and inspires them to go on and achieve various personal goals and develop an awareness of future opportunities. Students range from age 12 to 16 and are referred on to the scheme by various partner agencies. Since restarting following the pandemic, the Service has supported more than 100 students from schools and academies across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. They all benefit from achieving Unit Award Scheme certificates in CPR and Basic Life Support, Basic Firefighting Skills and Active Citizenship.

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Cllr Susan Wallwork, Fenland District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Safety, said: “We’re delighted to have funded these most recent Firebreak courses using government funding successfully secured from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority. By challenging themselves in a supportive environment, the young people involved can develop skills around teamwork and relationship building; focusing on reaching their potential and becoming an active and contributing member of their community.”

Thomas Clarkson Academy Principal, Richard Scott, said: “Our students benefit greatly from programmes such as Firebreak, and we always welcome opportunities for them to experience real-world projects that see them develop skills to help them for life.

“Everyone involved in the training should be very proud of themselves, both in achieving their goals and in the way they have conducted themselves while working with the Fire and Rescue Service. The passing out parades are a real joy to attend and a very public way of recognising and celebrating the students’ successes, everyone was impressed. We may even have found some recruits for the future as a result of Firebreak.”

To find out more about costs and the Firebreak course, please email firebreakinfo@cambsfire.gov.uk.

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