AF&RS joins with Catch22 to provide positive role models

Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) joined with charity Catch22 to inspire young males by providing them with positive role models and a Fire Safety Course.

As part of the partnership, seven teenagers aged from 14- 16 spent six weeks with firefighters from Temple fire station developing their skills and experience.

Throughout their weekly two hour courses at the station, they covered everything from breathing apparatus, hose use, road traffic collision management and first aid, providing them with a new perspective on uniformed jobs and positive role models to aspire to.

Following the course, all of the students from Catch22's Bedminster site passed out – graduated – yesterday (23/10) and received certificates that they can take away to future employers.

Working with Catch22, which aims to help people find a good place to live, a purpose and good people around them, the Service hopes that the course will inspire the teenagers to lead change in themselves and their peer group.

This wellbeing, skills and role model development is something that AF&RS is keen to embrace as part of its values of transparency, inclusivity, ambition, honesty, respect and courage.

The Service works with community groups from across the region and is always looking for people to be role models within their own community, whether as a firefighter or advocate for fire safety and other campaigns.

James Grady, a firefighter at Temple fire station who led on the project, said: “Providing positive role models to those in the community who need it is a positive step and something we have always aspired to do.

“Working with Catch22, we have been able to help those who need it and help to point them in a direction that will make a real positive difference to their lives, helping to give them a purpose and put good people around them.

“All those we have worked with have such great potential and this is just about giving them the confidence, drive and support to achieve their goals.

“Throughout the six weeks, we have seen real change in those on the course and hope they have all taken something positive away from the course.

“We hope to continue to build on these relationships with the students and Catch 22 over the coming years.”

Catch22’s vision is a strong society where everyone has good people around them, a purpose, and a good place to live. 

Having been a charity for 200 years, they now work across children’s social care, deliver alternative education, get people into work through apprenticeships and employability programmes, build stronger communities through social action.

Last year alone, they supported over 60,000 people across the country with 70 per cent having an increase in confidence and self-esteem.

Jamie England, LP of Vocational Studies at Catch22, said: “The work experience provided by the team at Avon Fire and Rescue Service has been outstanding, our students have been taught a variety of skills across this academic term.

“We have noticed a difference in the motivation and aspiration of our students from attending this work experience. Some of our students are now actively thinking of a career with the Fire Service.

“We believe this ongoing partnership will continue to give our learners from disadvantaged backgrounds new aspirations and opportunities that will, in turn, create a brighter future for them.”