Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service celebrates 20 years of partnership with The Prince's Trust
ancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) is celebrating 20 years of running its Prince’s Trust Team programmes across Lancashire.
The programmes were first launched on April 1 2001, and have helped over 6,000 young people from throughout the county.
The Prince’s Trust Team programme is a course delivered over 12 weeks, by staff from LFRS in affiliation with The Prince’s Trust charity.
It is free for any employed or unemployed young people aged between 16 and 25, and aims to improve confidence, motivation and help them to learn new skills.
Youngsters work towards a nationally-recognised qualification, as well as taking part in work experience, community action projects and receiving careers advice.
They are also given the opportunity to take part in a week-long residential to work on team-building skills.
The team programmes are run from nine sites across Lancashire, including Fleetwood and Blackpool Fire Stations on the Fylde coast.
Justin Johnston, chief fire officer, said: "It is a fantastic accolade that Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service have been able to deliver these programmes consistently for 20 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 team programme relies on the involvement of lots of different partners across the county in order for it to be successful, LFRS added.
It partners with organisations including some of Lancashire's further education colleges, Lancashire Police, HMRC and Department for Work and Pensions.
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 20 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 12 weeks.”
In 2019, a group of team programme recruits from Fleetwood Fire Station renovated the gardens at Red Marsh School in Thornton and took part in a special veteran's morning at Cleveleys Library, amongst other work experience in the community.
Despite not being able to meet in person since due to the pandemic, LFRS said it was "incredibly proud" that it was able to run virtual sessions at a time when "young people have undoubtedly been disproportionately affected by the pandemic - mentally and economically."
Caroline Hooson, youth engagement coordinator and partner manager, said: “We are incredibly proud to be celebrating 20 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 12 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."