Wisbech youngsters tackle the impact of arson

Members of the Prince's Trust team based in Wisbech who tok part in a film project, Fenland in Flames. ANL-150428-090228001
Members of the Prince's Trust team based in Wisbech who tok part in a film project, Fenland in Flames. ANL-150428-090228001

Young people taking part in the Prince’s Trust Team programme, which is based in Wisbech, have researched, scripted, directed and shot a film about the impact of arson on their community.

The Prince’s Trust Team programme is run jointly by fire and police services.

Station Commander Paul Clarke, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Community Risk Manager for Fenland, said: “We have been so impressed with how the Prince’s Trust group grasped this opportunity and delivered an informative piece which has exceeded our expectations. We hope those involved in the project have learned more about the consequences of arson and now we will hopefully spread their message by uploading the film online for others to see.”

The group of 13 young people, all aged between 16 and 25 and from Fenland, spent about three weeks completing the project. It was developed as part of the working in the community element of the course, which finished on Thursday, April 16, with a passing out parade at Wisbech Fire Station. The final event included a firefighting drill supervised by the Wisbech crew and emotional speeches by the participants.

Steve Lucas, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service’s Team Leader of the scheme, said: “This is our third Fenland team and they have worked extremely hard to overcome real obstacles to complete the course. Before the programme a lot of them felt negatively about themselves and didn’t think they were worth much, especially within the community.

“After the 12 weeks, however, they’ve found out how much they can do and how they can change for the better if they work hard. Some have jobs and interviews lined up in coming weeks and some of the younger ones will be making decisions on their future. We now hope they will continue with their new sense of purpose and move onto great things.”

This is the third Prince’s Trust Team programme to run in Fenland since the partnership scheme launched last summer. It is run by Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS), with partners Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, Cambridgeshire Constabulary and The College of West Anglia.

The Prince’s Trust Team programme is a 12-week personal development course which aims to increase confidence, motivation and skills and as a result, enables young people to then gain employment, move into education or undertake training or an apprenticeship.

Twice a week throughout the course the participants engaged with firefighters at Wisbech in drills and development exercises, which culminated in them performing a planned drill at their passing out parade. Participants took part in teambuilding activities, a week-long residential, a community project, work placements, careers advice and support, presentation skills and team challenges.

The young people who took part were: Jordan Baker, 23, of Wisbech; Stacie Buckland, 18, of Wisbech; Annie Eardley, 21, of Wisbech; Leigh-Anne Edwards, 22, of Walpole; Robyn Hammond, 18, of Sutton Bridge; Ryan Hancock, 22, of Gorefield; Gareth Horsley, 25, of Wisbech; Daniel Reid, 21, of Wisbech; Sheldon Johnson, 17, of Sutton Bridge; Luke Jones, 19, of Wisbech; Louise Kettleborough, 19, of March; Thomas Marchis, 16, of March; Jamie Westhorpe, 24, of Wisbech.