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1 The Phoenix Project Information for school, agencies and partnerships. S.R. Jones.-Phoenix Co-Ordinator

2 Introduction Reducing fire deaths and injuries in North Wales is more than just providing an efficient emergency response service. By adopting a proactive approach and working with partnerships, agencies and the community, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service (NWFRS) can provide a better service in helping to keep the people of North Wales and its visitors safer. Furthermore, by developing these links and working together in partnership, other community issues such as anti social behaviour, drug and alcohol problems and road safety can be tackled more effectively. Together we can support the more vulnerable sectors of our communities such as the Elderly, the excluded and in this case, the young people of North Wales. NWFRS Community Safety and Youth Intervention teams endeavour to engage with young people across a wide spectrum ranging from mainstream school education to those excluded from school, with offending behaviour issues or simply deemed ‘at risk’ in some way. The Phoenix Project is one such initiative aimed specifically at young people who may benefit from intervention outside of mainstream approaches. This document is designed to give an outline of the Project to allow those engaged in youth work to determine if such a scheme may be a useful tool to either support or enhance their own system of work as well as addressing fire related issues for the Fire Service.

3 What is the Phoenix Project ? It challenges existing attitudes and promotes independent thinking in young people by using fire service activities to develop personal attributes such as working as a team, exploring physical and mental limits and promoting and educating about the role of the fire service. The Phoenix Project is a Fire and Rescue initiative aimed at young people between the ages of 13-17. The aim of the project is to address issues within young people ranging from low self esteem and lack of confidence to antisocial behaviour and/or fire related problems such as deliberate fire setting and hoax calls. What’s involved ? Over 5 days, young people will engage in fire service activities such as hose running drills, fighting fires and search and rescue. They will also learn useful every day skills such as first aid, manual handling, risk management and fire safety. There are many opportunities for self exploration such as coping under pressure as part of a team and dealing with demanding tasks such as abseiling from a building or entering a smoke filled room. Throughout the week young people are pushed in every way to draw out the best within themselves, all the time supported by a dedicated team, specially trained to work safely with young people. By the end of the week, the young people will have gained a unique insight into the role of the fire service. They will also have gained skills not only useful in every day life but also for potential employment. All candidates can achieve certificates in the following subjects; First Aid Manual Handling Risk management They also receive training in Fire Safety and using fire extinguishers. The week culminates in a fire fighting display and presentation of certificates. Young people leave the course with a new found sense of confidence, pride and self worth.

4 Who is it aimed at? What are the course objectives ? It is not just a course for young people with fire related issues such as hoax calls and arson, or just for those with anti social or offending behaviour. The course is aimed at any young person who might benefit from learning and developing through an active and physically orientated medium. Young people with the following issues can also benefit from attending a Phoenix course. Lack of confidence – Low self esteem. Struggle to perform academically. Problems with communicating. In need of vocational direction. At risk of getting into trouble. Vulnerable to peer pressure. North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is committed to working towards a safer community but this is not limited to just tackling fire related issues. The course seeks to educate and inform young people about the dangers of fire but its remit is much wider than that. Apart from gaining a valuable insight into the dangers and consequences of fire, young people who attend the course also receive instruction on a variety of hazards and dangers such as road traffic collisions and how to manage an incident safely. Dealing with hazards through risk management and how to live and work safely are a key part of a fire fighters daily routine. The youngsters soon come to realise that these factors are not just limited to a dangerous job like fire fighting, but are prevalent in everyday living. By exploring and challenging their own personal limitations through the activities they undertake throughout the week, young people learn to improve their social skills, think more independently and also think about others around them. This process often reveals hidden qualities that perhaps before have never had the opportunity to be brought to the surface. It can uncover confident leaders, considerate individuals, sharp minds and articulate thinkers.

5 Why the Fire Service? Working with the Fire and Rescue Service has many benefits for young people. Apart from gaining a valuable insight into the role of a fire fighter and what a career in the fire service might entail, there are also many other advantages. Fire fighters as role models. Many of us, particularly when we are younger, have at some time thought of being a fire fighter. It is generally accepted that fire fighters are positive role models because of the nature of the job they do. Young people are more responsive and cooperative when working with such people and sometimes seek to emulate them or at least some of their qualities. An active occupation. Being a fire fighter is not only physically challenging, but mentally challenging as well. Personal qualities such as being able to work with others, coping under stress, managing your own safety, following instructions and using your initiative are prominent attributes employed on a regular basis in a fire fighters role. Young people who attend a course also begin to develop these desirable attributes. Making Safer communities. By spending time in the company of fire fighters, young people who attend the course not only learn about fire safety, but acquire safety skills that could be useful in everyday life such as first aid and manual handling. They also appreciate the consequences of hoax calls and deliberate fire setting and the wider effects this has on our communities. Outcomes. There are three ‘benefit’ areas from young people attending. To the Fire Service. Reduction in Hoax calls. Reduction in deliberate fires and Arson. Reduction in fire deaths and injuries. Strengthening links with other agencies. Increased fire safety awareness. To the community. Less incidences of anti social behaviour. Reduction in crime. Safer communities. Stronger communities. To the young person. Increased confidence and self esteem. Improved interpersonal skills. Safer individuals. Vocational skills. Increased sense of direction and self respect.

6 Successes 1 young lady commended twice by the mayor of Wrexham for her charity work. 1 student in the process of entering the RAF Fire Service. Another asked for her bail conditions to be changed so she could become involved with charity work. At least 8 students have gained apprenticeships. One has become the assistant manageress of a large store. 2 others have just completed an 8 week rock climbing course and are now Princes Trust volunteers. Contacts. Contact Details. Stuart Jones – Phoenix Co-Ordinator Carol Roberts – Phoenix Admin Gillian Roberts – Assistant Co-Ordinator: Wrexham/Flintshire David Lawson – Assistant Co-Ordinator: Denbighshire/Conwy Simon Wilson – Assistant Co-Ordinator: Gwynedd/Anglesey Phoenix Project Team North Wales Fire and Rescue Service Community Safety Department Rhyl Fire Station Coast Road Denbighshire LL18 3PL Tel: Carol Roberts 07787 578 363 If you wish to know more about getting involved with the Phoenix Project or find out how it can benefit young people then contact the Phoenix team.

7 Statistics Comments “All the pupils were pushed to their limits both physically and mentally and revealed qualities and strengths never seen before.” Assistant Head Teacher, Connah’s Quay High School.

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