South Wales Fire and Rescue Service has introduced a new youth intervention initiative to encourage young people to adopt a healthier lifestyle of positive thinking and building self-resilience.
Street Firefighter is a vehicle to help build and restore relationships within the communities by offering the local children and young people a safe space to engage, build resilience and life skills and help start to create a pathway to implement positive life choices. It will also aim to raise awareness of the outcomes of actions by engaging with children and young people in a targeted approach.
This method of intervention is known as ‘doorstep intervention’ and is an emerging style of community engagement and youth delivery. While there is still a lot to learn, the service says that with the introduction of Street Firefighter, it can bring a creative and flexible approach to new situations and challenges. These ideas are combined with insight from a wide range of disciplines including youth work and operational activities.
Street Firefighter sits alongside the service’s existing youth engagement project called REFLECT. This is a series of interventions that helps develop practical skills, raise awareness of the outcomes of actions and helps build a young person’s resilience and positively strengthens their decision-making processes.
Working with young people aged 11-25, REFLECT’s general principles have evolved from prevention to early intervention and engagement, through youth participation. Through building relationships and education, REFLECT works to empower children and young people, as they learn about situational awareness and the impact of their decisions and actions.
Nicola Weten is the Youth and Volunteer manager for the service. She explained, “Doorstep interventions such as Street Firefighter can have a positive impact on social inclusion and increase the personal achievements of young people. By working with our partners, we can continue to work to make a difference through a variety of engagement methods, draw on experience and expertise and share resources. It’s flexible and can be tailored to fit the needs of individual groups, all taking place in the local community.”