MORE than 50 young lives from Fenland have been touched by the Prince’s Trust Team programme since its launch.
The personal development programme, which targets 16-25-year-olds, kicked off in the summer of 2014 after a need was identified by a partnership of emergency services, local authorities and educational establishments.
Delivered by Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service and run in partnership with Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, Cambridgeshire Constabulary and the College of West Anglia, the programme has resulted in 16 young people securing employment and 12 going in to further education.
Four teams comprising of a total of 58 young people, have completed the 12-week course, which aims to increase confidence, motivation and skills.
Each team works closely with the fire crew at Wisbech Fire Station, where the most recent team passed out from on Thursday.
Station Commander Paul Clarke, Community Risk Manager at CFRS, said: “The Prince’s Trust has been an incredible initiative to be involved with. The scheme is very challenging for the young people, mentors and fire crews alike. However, if anyone had any doubt as to the value of the scheme, the final pass out event of all the teams would allay those doubts.
“Listening to the testimonies of the young people and the positive impact the scheme has had on their lives is nothing short of inspirational.”
Participants take part in teambuilding activities, work placements, careers advice and support, presentation skills and team challenges.
At the end of the course students gain a Prince’s Trust Certificate in Employment, Teamwork and Community skills and an Emergency First Aid Certificate.
Community centres have been spruced up, gardens redeveloped and an educational video created, all as part of teams’ community work.
About £1,800 has also been raised to fund the community projects, as well as local partnerships formed with businesses to support the good work of the teams.
Twenty-five-year-old Gavin Horsley took part in the third Fenland team.
The programme gave him the confidence to get involved in volunteering and he is now in employment.
Teenager Trixie Swiderek was a member of Fenland’s first Prince’s Trust team.
Not only has she since been able to secure employment, she is looking forward to going back into education in September to study graphics at the College of West Anglia and also volunteers with the Prince’s Trust.
And 21-year-old Jessica Warby, who hopes to go on to get an IT apprenticeship, added: “The Prince’s Trust has helped me develop skills so I can get a better job.
“I certainly wouldn’t have thought of applying for an IT apprenticeship if not for the help of the Prince’s Trust.”