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Date published: 12 September 2019
A group of young refugee children from Syria and Africa, who have settled in Colchester, have taken part in a special Firebreak course to help build their confidence.
The Colchester Youth Project, which was set up two years ago by Colchester Borough Council and Colchester Borough Homes, organised the Firebreak course in partnership with Essex County Fire & Rescue Service, thanks to a £2000 grant from Colchester Borough Homes.
The course was tailored to develop the young people’s life skills, teach them the value of teamwork and most importantly help the children integrate into the community, learn about Fire Safety and develop their confidence.
The participants undertake a series of challenging firefighter tasks including using powerful water hoses, wearing specialist breathing apparatus, climbing ladders and rescuing casualties from a two-storey building.
Firebreak Lead Instructor Allan Webb said: “The week was really fantastic. From the initial pre-course induction all the way through till the final day. It has been great to work with and alongside individuals from various cultural backgrounds and with ranging, various abilities. The students have shown a real desire to listen, encourage, support and work hard and outcomes of this have been plain to see. I do hope that from this, students will continue to show this progression back within society very much look forward to hearing how the students develop and nurture in future.”
The week-long course finished with a special passing out ceremony where the young people showed their proud families and friends some of the skills they have learned during the course.
Cllr Mike Lilley, Colchester Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Communities, Wellbeing and Public Safety, said: “The Firebreak course was an excellent opportunity for these young residents. They all rose to the challenges that the Fire Service set and enjoyed the passing out ceremony with their family and friends.
“A move to a different country can be difficult for any child, but especially so when you are a refugee. The course was designed to bring together this group of young people, to help build their confidence and support their integration into our borough; in turn continuing to make a better Colchester.”
A second Firebreak Course is set to take place in the autumn. This course will be aimed at young people that are involved in anti-social behaviour in Colchester. Along with learning fire service drills they will also learn about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and hoax calls and first aid.