Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) are celebrating twenty years of running their Prince’s Trust Team programmes across multiple locations across the county. The programmes were first launched on 1 April 2001 and have had over 6,000 young people through their doors.
The Prince’s Trust Team programme is a twelve-week course delivered by staff from LFRS in affiliation with The Prince’s Trust charity. It is a free programme for any employed or un-employed young people aged between 16-25 aimed to improve confidence, motivation and help young people learn new skills. The programme includes work experience, careers advice, qualifications, challenging projects, community action projects and an action-packed team building week-long residential. Alongside all of this young people also gain a nationally recognised qualification.
Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service is now the biggest provider of Team programmes within Fire and Rescue Services in the country. The team programmes are run from nine sites across the country, mainly with the learning held at the Fire Stations themselves, at Preston (Deepdale and Central), Burnley, Blackburn, Pendle, Fleetwood, Blackpool, Morecambe and Hyndburn. What’s more, Blackburn Team will be celebrating their 100th Team programme this year too.
Chief Fire Officer, Justin Johnston, said: “it is a fantastic accolade that Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service have been able to deliver these programmes consistently for twenty years no doubt shaping and improving the lives of so many young people during that time. Peter Holland, who was Chief Fire Officer of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service back in 2001, made the right decision to bring the programme in-house. Prince’s Trust has been helping young lives since 1976 and their values absolutely align with Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service’s aims of making Lancashire safer. I have been pleased that we have been able to continue the mantle from Peter and achieve this milestone.”
The programme not only provides young people with a qualification but gives them confidence, new skills and increased motivation to take the next step forward in their lives. What’s more the programme works towards altering perceptions of young people, reduces unemployment and crime and improves community spirit.
In order to achieve this, it isn’t just Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service that put in the hard yards. The team programme relies on the involvement of lots of different partners across the county in order for it to be successful. Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service partners with local organisations such as – Preston’s College, Nelson and Colne College, Lancashire Constabulary, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, Department for Work and Pensions, and many more. All of whom play a vital role in helping it to succeed.
George Martin OBE, Prince’s Trust National Liaison Officer, said: “On behalf of The Prince’s Trust and the young people of Lancashire I’d like to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service for their magnificent achievement. I also wish to thank all the organisations who have supported our partnership over the years to reach this milestone. The support they have given the Team programme has gone on to transform the lives of many thousands of young people. The opportunity for them to do a work placement and gain work experience to go on their CV is invaluable. I have worked in partnership with Prince’s Trust for twenty years and watched hundreds of closing presentations in that time seeing first-hand the positive change and affect the programme has on the young people that are in our care during those vital twelve weeks.”
The teams across the county have had countless stories of young people going on to achieve great things, secure employment or go on to further education. One of the services’ current serving firefighters was in fact an attendee on the course many years ago. The Service is incredibly proud that they have been able to continue to keep the programmes running throughout the pandemic shifting to virtual sessions. At a time when young people have undoubtedly been disproportionately affected by the pandemic mentally and economically ensuring the programmes continued to run was vital. Not only that, running them virtually has actually meant that Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service were able to register more young people than usual due to having more capacity online.
Caroline Hooson, Youth Engagement Coordinator and Partner Manager, said: “We are incredibly proud to be celebrating twenty years of running the Prince’s Trust Team Programme at Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and everyone involved should be immensely proud. Being able to support over 6,000 young people, act as role models and see the difference that it makes to people’s lives and our local communities is very humbling. The difference we make in those short twelve weeks is huge, and although it is massively rewarding, it can also be very challenging. Every single person within our department understands its value and is passionate about making that difference to the young people we meet.”
Louise Rainford, Youth Engagement Coordinator and Partner Manager, said: “Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service aspires to be outstanding in all that we do and that extends to all aspect of our work. We are so much more than an emergency service who extinguishes fires and the work we do in the Prince’s Trust department highlights that. We do not do this alone though. We are fortunate to have long standing relationships with both Nelson and Colne College and Preston’s College who partner with us to enable us to do what we do. They understand how this programme benefits the young people of Lancashire and we are hugely grateful for the ongoing support they offer to us.”
Clare Crabb, Director for the North at The Prince’s Trust, said: “The Prince’s Trust is thrilled to be celebrating our long-standing partnership with Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service. The numbers are staggering; 20 years of running Team programmes together, which have supported over 6,000 young people. Behind those numbers are real young people who have left Team with greater confidence, more skills and a better outlook on life. It is particularly heartening that Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service have adapted during the pandemic and continued to reach young people remotely. Now more than ever, young people need support to build their resilience during the pandemic, a time when many have faced disrupted education and job markets. The Prince’s Trust looks forward to helping the next generation of young people work towards brighter futures through Team with the support of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service.”