The Youth Intervention Team at West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) have continued to work with young people in the region despite the recent lockdown.

The team usually works face to face with young people, partner agencies, organisations and schools to educate young people on future prospects and how to maintain safety.

When the coronavirus outbreak began, the team had to adapt but decided to continue their support for local young people whilst social distancing. This included hosting virtual sessions and socially distanced doorstep meetings with local pupils.

During the lockdown, the Youth Intervention Team delivered an eight-week programme, the Prince’s Trust Personal Development and Employability Course, for nine local pupils from Kirklees College and the Prince’s Trust to support them with their future life prospects.

During the programme, which started at the end of June, the nine pupils attended daily “Inspire” sessions where they were given live tours of fire stations, heard from guest speakers from different organisations and were helped by individual mentors from the Youth Intervention Team.

Another project saw participants take part in a home art project, leading to a collaborative piece being created, which is on display at Fairfield School in Batley. The group are also working remotely with crews to create a fire safety video using Makaton for the students at the school.

The team has carried out more than 20 fire safety education sessions via video calls since the coronavirus outbreak in March.

Councillor Darren O’Donovan, Chair of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority, was one of the guest speakers during the eight-week education programme.

He said: “It’s fantastic to see how the team has adapted to the challenging situation that we have all found ourselves in, and it’s wonderful to see young people so engaged and passionate about their future. I was delighted to be able to join them on their most recent “Inspire” session and hopefully opened their minds to the possibilities that a career in politics can bring.

“This work is absolutely crucial in educating young people and building communities that we can all be proud of.”

Claire Wright, the Youth Intervention and Prince’s Trust Manager at West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “I have been astounded by the commitment that these young people have shown over the last few months. Not only are they doing something really positive for themselves during lockdown but they are also doing something really positive for the young people at Fairfield School. During really difficult times, each and every one of them has stepped up and taken important steps in creating a bright future for themselves, and they have thrown themselves into everything we have asked them to do.

“The sessions help give the young people taking part lessons for life and opportunities so they can make the most of their futures. To still be able to deliver this work during the Coronavirus pandemic is a testament to the hard work of the young people, the team and our partners.”

Emma Townsend, Curriculum Area Manager for Student Engagement and Partnerships at Kirklees College, said: “We are proud to have partnered with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service to provide our students with a multitude of positive experiences, including charity fundraising, volunteering and work experience. The programme has supported our young people to develop their social responsibility and transferable skills for their future.

“The Youth Intervention Team has worked extremely hard during these unprecedented times to allow our students to complete their final weeks of the programme. This high-quality provision has allowed our students to meet the needs of the local community and opened up other opportunities for them across the college.”