Today the London Fire Brigade’s flagship youth scheme celebrates 10 years of changing young peoples’ lives with a birthday wish for more external funding.
The Local Intervention Fire Education Scheme (LIFE) programme costs £1.4 million to run around 60 courses a year. The Brigade is now calling on corporate and charitable partners to help secure the schemes’ long term future.
The new appeal, follows a funding boost for LIFE from two major new backers. The Co-operative has agreed to provide meals for young people attending the scheme, while further external investment are being provided by charitable housing provider Peabody which has agreed to fund two courses this year.
Today’s pass out ceremony at Shadwell Fire Station will be attended by James Cleverly AM, in his first official visit as the new Chairman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority. He said:
“It’s fantastic that in one of my first official duties as Authority Chairman I’ve had the chance to see the Brigade’s highly respected LIFE scheme in action.”
“Last year’s riots highlighted the importance of working with young Londoners but during these tough economic times we need to look at new ways of securing long term funding for the programme. This includes encouraging businesses and organisations to demonstrate their social responsibility by showing financial support for a cause that without doubt benefits the wider community.”
So far more than 5,000 young Londoners have benefited from the LIFE programme since it began in 2002. As well as giving young people the opportunity to learn real firefighting skills by working alongside real firefighters the scheme has a proven track record of improving the discipline, confidence and team building skills of those taking part.
London has one of the lowest rates of attacks on firefighters in the country and LIFE has played a major part in driving down this figure.
Robert Groom, Peabody’s Fire Safety and Emergency Planning Manager said:
“Peabody, as a charitable housing provider, has always been committed to supporting young people to become active citizens in their local communities. Our youth services offer opportunities for young people to develop life skills, personal growth and self-esteem through a variety of activities.
Peabody is proud and excited to support the London Fire Brigade’s LIFE scheme as it helps nurture and develop these skills. “
There are now 12 LIFE centres across the capital working with young people from almost all London boroughs.
Notes for editors:
The Local Intervention Fire Education (LIFE) has completed over 500 courses.
Activities carried out by teenagers on the LIFE programme include the use of ladders, breathing apparatus, casualty rescue techniques and hose line practice – all of which are designed to improve motivation, confidence and team building skills. On the course the young people also get drug and alcohol awareness, public speaking skills provided by charity Jack Petchey and a talk from London Ambulance Service. Evaluations have shown that young people with a history of offending or anti-social behaviour are less likely to engage in this sort of behaviour after taking part.
The LIFE centres are based in Barking and Dagenham; Newham; Tower Hamlets; Islington; Brent; Sutton; Lambeth; Bexley and Camden. The success of LIFE in London has paved the way for similar schemes across the UK and seven other fire and rescue services are now using the scheme. It is also being adopted by New Zealand Fire Service.