Firereach youngsters do their bit for Glasgow
27 June 2013
Pupils join firefighters in successful initiative.
Firefighters joined teachers and pupils from two Glasgow high schools to improve safety in one of the city’s communities and give a welcome boost to residents at a sheltered housing complex.
Crews from Maryhill Community Fire Station have been working with teenagers at Cleveden Secondary and John Paul Academy on the project, which aimed to help elderly people living at homes on Arrochar Court.
Station Commander John McKenna explained: “Firefighters are closely involved in their communities and personnel at Maryhill are proud of the work being done to boost the area we serve.
“Firefighter Stephen Bates and some of his colleagues recently ran a Firereach course designed to help our young people understand the role of a firefighter and the dangers caused by hoax calls and hydrant abuse.
“It is a highly successful initiative that helps those taking part to develop their own skills, abilities and confidence – improving their employability and prospects of succeeding in whatever path they choose after leaving school.
“The latest course attempted to build on that success even further by incorporating a community-based project, where the young people committed themselves to helping others and doing something for their fellow residents.”
Working as a single team, pupils from both schools united to clean up the area around the sheltered housing complex. The dedicated youngsters rolled-up their sleeves to give the elderly residents a brighter place to live.
Hannah Hooper is a physical education and pastoral care teacher at Cleveden Secondary who helped organise her school’s participation in the Firereach programme. She said: “Our pupils have been totally inspired and motivated by this course.
“We ran a formal application process where every place was awarded on merit and the response was incredible: 20 per cent of the pupils applied within one day of the opportunity being announced.
“They were hugely excited at the chance to build their skills in a work setting and took the process very seriously. The impact on our pupils has been massive.
“We’ve seen a growing confidence and maturity in the participants and it has made a real difference to their prospects as they saw the reason for taking school seriously. One pupil handed in a full report on the programme within two days – it was the first piece of work she had submitted in months.”
The Cleveden teacher’s view of the benefit for her school’s pupils was echoed by the depute head of John Paul Academy.
Vincent Collins added: “We conducted a robust selection process where employability officers interviewed those who applied for a place, which meant the pupils taking part were very motivated right from the start.
“It absolutely developed their confidence and succeeded in giving them the opportunity to act as responsible citizens and improve their employability. We can already see they have a new understanding about the need for life skills and the importance of their time at school.
“It’s important to recognise the commitment pupils put into this project. Nothing shows that more clearly than their turning up early on a Saturday morning, rolling up their sleeves and making a real effort to improve the area for elderly residents.
“Pupils also came away with a much deeper understanding of the role of the fire service within their community and it will help reduce things like hydrant vandalism, because youngsters now know about its dangerous impact on firefighters’ water supplies.”