Teaming up with Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service to help pupils reach their full potential

Posted on November 13, 2017 by Lisa Hammerton

Firefighters holding a fire hose

Earlier this year, we donated £4,500 to Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service to run its Phoenix programme in Andover.   The course, which has already been carried out at numerous other stations across the county, gives young people the opportunity to develop lifelong skills as they learn the core values of the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and train to complete a full fire drill.

Over the course of the week, eight people from Simplyhealth attended to see what it's about, and take part in the activities.  Sarah Warwick and Ali Southgate (both fire wardens) give an account of the day:

"Ali and I arrived at Andover Fire Station at 10.00am on Tuesday morning, greeted by Gary the course leader, who showed us around the fire station and introduced us to the volunteers and police community support officer's (PCSO). The children, all year 8 and 9 students from local Andover schools, attend for different reasons ranging from self-confidence, struggling with life events or not attending school on a regular basis.

This course is so much more than a week running around in a fire uniform, it's probably the first time a lot of these children have been this engaged, active and committed for a long time.  Some really embraced the experience, keen to learn and listen whilst others struggled to pay attention. What's great is that Gary (the course leader) and his team continue to coach and mentor the pupils, helping them to reach their full potential. It's clear there's a real passion to help them."
Sarah Warwick

"Sarah, Lynn and I attended the final Phoenix drill showcase at Andover Fire Station and we were really proud to see the children master the full drill with confidence, speed, working as a solid team and with determination - what a difference a few days makes!

We attended the event along with parents, siblings and grandparents to watch the children perform the drill and show how they've managed to come together as a team, listen and take instruction, have focus, be disciplined and demonstrate what they can a achieve when they have purpose and most importantly to have pride in their achievements. Some had even stepped up to a team lead role taking command of the drill activity to ensure everyone knew what they were doing and delivered a streamlined and successful drill.

This is really valuable project helping kids to realise their potential and steer them away from unsociable behaviour in the community."
Alison Southgate

We'll also be attending the final presentation evening on Tuesday 19th December where the children will receive their certificates of achievement and celebrate their successes together.