Firefighters in Ayrshire will welcome volunteers keen to help them protect communities from fire.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) is among the organisations in the area joining the Positive Steps with Partners initiative, which is run by the Ayrshire Community Trust.
The project supports unemployed people by boosting their skills and giving them the chance to gain experience through volunteering.
After an intensive eight-week programme the volunteers will work alongside the area’s SFRS Community Action Team as they raise awareness of risks to prevent emergencies.
Group Manager Albert Bruce said: “Our Community Action Team works across Ayrshire to help people understand very common dangers and take simple steps to stay safe from fire.
“The volunteers who will join our team’s efforts can make a real difference and help protect the public.
“We need the public and our partners to help us reach those who at highest risk in our communities and this initiative is a chance to make people more aware of the support we can provide residents.”
The SFRS Community Action Team delivers free home fire safety visits as well as education and engagement talks to groups in communities throughout Ayrshire.
It plays a key role in preventing tragedies by helping people understand and address common hazards that could otherwise result in a serious incident.
Group Manager Bruce continued: “The volunteers who accompany our team will be able to share what they’ve learned to help others stay safe and they will also gain skills that will help as they look to move into work.
“Empowering people into volunteering allows them to develop their knowledge and experience to boost their employability and that’s something all the partners put at the heart of this initiative.”
The initiative was launched in North Ayrshire and the council has provided 100 opportunities for people to volunteer alongside the SFRS Community Action Team.
Councillor Marie Burns, cabinet member for economy and employment, said: "We are delighted to work in partnership with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to provide the volunteering opportunities to local people in North Ayrshire.
“This will be a fantastic initiative which will offer people the training and skills needed to secure a job."
Anyone who thinks they – or someone they know – could benefit from a free home fire safety visit should contact SFRS.
The short visits can be arranged by calling the freephone number 0800 073 1999, by texting ‘FIRE’ to 80800 or by filling in a form at www.firescotland.gov.uk.
Positive Steps with Partners involves SFRS, North Ayrshire Council, Ayrshire College, CEIS Ayrshire, the Alcohol and Drugs Partnership, Adult Support and Protection, Trading Standards and North Ayrshire Dementia Services.
Participants will receive intensive job search support and when an individual is ready to look for work the programme will allow them to move forward into employment
Further information is available at www.theayrshirecommunitytrust.