Posted by Tony Flynn on 15th August 2012 at 12:03 PM
Young people change their choices at Eccles Fire Station
Learning about the dangers of making hoax 999 calls was made fun recently when members of a Junior Bobbies scheme were given a guided tour of Eccles Fire Station by firefighters.
The pilot scheme, which aimed to discourage the young people of Little Hulton from being involved in anti-social behaviour, was run by City West Housing Trust.
The nine to 15-year-olds visited the station on Wednesday, August 1 and were shown the fire engines and water rescue unit before having a fire safety presentation.
Neighbourhood Officer from City West Housing Trust, Rebecca West, said: “We ran the Junior Bobbies as a pilot for a week. We brought ten young people down to the station and it was fantastic that the firefighters and staff were able to show us round.
“They told all the children about the work of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS), and all about the risks of making hoax calls and starting deliberate fires.
“A couple of them had been in trouble previously and all of the children really learnt a lot from the crews. The course was all about encouraging them to make better life choices going forward to keep them away from getting into anti-social behaviour.”
During the week, the children also visited Manchester Magistrates’ Court, a homeless shelter and Challenge4Change, a Trafford Park based charity where the Junior Bobbies took part in team building activities and were shown a real prison cell.
Community Safety Advisor Katy O’Connor said: “The young people spent a morning with us and Blue Watch were able to do some fire drills with them in the station yard, helping them with discipline.
“I gave them a few different presentations on hoax calls, road safety, deliberate fire starting and general fire safety because the idea of the visit was to help prevent the young people falling victim to peer pressure and getting into anti-social behaviour.
“With bonfire night approaching in a few months, I was also able to chat to them about the dangers and risks and after showing them a video and pictures of people injured by fireworks, one of them told me how he now realised it just wasn’t worth it just to try and impress friends.”
Rebecca added: “The week had a real impact on the young people and they came up with a new name for their programme and decided that rather than Junior Bobbies, the week-long scheme should actually be called Change Your Choices.”
Eccles Station Manager Paul Smitham said: “We were delighted to be involved with the pilot scheme because Eccles Fire Station is at the centre of the community here.
“GMFRS Firefighters are disciplined and work hard and hopefully by having the young people on station with us they will pick up good values and make wise choices.
“If we can help prevent young people from getting involved in anti-social behaviour then we are helping make our community in Eccles and Little Hulton safer and going forward we hope to work with City West Housing Trust in the future with their Change Your Choices scheme.”
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