Our Social Impact
Fire and Rescue Services already have a long history in delivering wide and varied prevention activities to improve safety at national, community and individuals levels. We take pride in the work we do and the difference we can make.
In 2016 we signed up to the Social Impact Pledge, a Scottish Government initiative aimed at increasing the social impact of public sector organisations across Scotland. We whole-heartedly took up the challenge of the Pledge to increase the positive impact we make and to use of our assets – our buildings and our people - better for increased community benefit.
Each year we are asked to identify three commitments. These should be something that we do differently, an increase or change of activity for example. Following a service wide request to submit details of relevant initiatives or projects, the Board approved our second set of three commitments in December 2017. These are:
Commitment 1 - Street Sport
By utilising sport, we will support families affected by imprisonment, reduce instances of youth crime and provide opportunities to engage in employment and positive social activities
Street Sport is a non-profit prevention, intervention and diversionary tactics initiative based at RGU SPORT in Aberdeen. It deploys mobile activity arenas directly into local communities all over Aberdeen and operates during peak times of anti-social behaviour. This long running programme has recently expanded, developing a Prison Programme. The aim of this is to use sporting activities as a way of maintaining family cohesion - keeping strong bonds between parents in prison and their children. It is hoped this will lead to less youth frustrations back in the community and reduce instances of annoyance/crime. Participants can then enrol on employability courses to build a structured positive environment and deter them from a cycle of imprisonment. Street Sports comprehensive volunteer programme has also seen them recently recognised with the Queens Award for voluntary service.
Commitment 2 - Community Safety HUB
By sharing our fire station with partners, we will enable effective joint working to reduce anti-social behaviour and deliberate fire setting so that people feel safer in their community
Rather than the current approach of partners meeting at different premises at different times, Falkirk have identified that a multi-agency hub model in their area would provide an excellent platform for networking and creating joint action plans. Using lessons learned from West Lothian, who already have co-located facilities, they wish to evolve Falkirk Fire Station into a community hub with a focus on reducing anti-social behaviour, in particular with regard to young people. This new approach will enable key information to be shared easily on a daily basis. Problematic hot spots and emerging trends in the community can be communicated face-to-face resulting in a holistic method of illuminating and tackling anti-social behaviour. Plans are for the hub to be permanently occupied by SFRS, Police Scotland and Falkirk Council, with other agencies using the office as a drop in. This will provide a well-rounded, preventative approach to sharing important information.
Commitment 3 - Community Action Team (CAT) Cycle Patrols
By being innovative in our approach, we will engage more effectively with young people to reduce Deliberate Secondary Fire Setting.
Deliberate Secondary Fires, especially in the dryer and hotter months of the year, places a high demand on SFRS in Falkirk and West Lothian. To complement the other current youth engagement and education programmes around anti-social behaviour, Falkirk and West Lothian CAT personnel have procured cycle equipment. This will allow staff to take the transforming approach of targeting, engaging and diverting young people away from anti-social behaviour on the bicycles - in areas normally not accessible by fire appliances, i.e. parks and canal paths. This will be carried out in isolation or through cycle patrols with Police Scotland. It will also contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of SFRS and will enable increased visibility of our staff within the community.
Information on the positive impact our Social Impact Pledge Initiatives from 2016 are making within the community can be accessed in our Previous Pledges page.
More information on the Social Impact Pledge Initiative and other organisations’ commitments is available on the Communities Channel Scotland website.