September 23 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Tears welled in the eyes of families, friends and youth leaders of 14 young people as they completed their passing out parade of the first ever Prince’s Trust Fenland Team programme.
The participants – all aged between 17 and 25 and from Fenland – completed a perfect fire drill at Wisbech Fire Station before telling the audience of nearly 200 people about their 12-week journey on the course.
Participants took part in teambuilding activities, a week-long residential, a community project, work placements and team challenges.
The Prince’s Trust Team programme, which is run by Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS), with partners Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, Cambridgeshire Constabulary and The College of West Anglia, is a personal development course which helps young people to find work, move into education or undertake training or an apprenticeship.
Wisbech’s Watch Commander John Chelton said: “When they first arrived, we were a bit worried. They all have their own personal issues and we didn’t know how we as a fire service would be able to help them.
“Seeing them overcome personal fears and demons and develop into these wonderful people is so rewarding. They work as a team, look out for each other, support the weaknesses and apply the strengths – it really has been an incredible journey and we’re honoured to have been part of it.”
One of the participants, Aston Gibb, 20, said: “Before I came on this course, I thought my life had come to an end. I thought there was no hope of me sorting myself out. It seemed the only path for me was the wrong one that would lead me to a life of grief.
“I have now realised that just being myself will make me more of a man than any money, clothes or rude boy image could ever do. Thank you to all of those who made this journey possible and who never threw in the towel on me.”
Nigel Williams, Chief Fire Officer at Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, said: “This is the first time we have worked in partnership with other blue light services of this kind in Cambridgeshire.
“The Fenland Programme has allowed 14 young people to complete a personal development course to boost their skills for the future and help them get into employment, education or training.”
The young people who took part were Dale Brightly, 20, of Wisbech; Ben Carlile, 19, of March; Alice Cheeshman, 21, of Wisbech; Richard Crow, 23, of Upwell; Deborah Hatt, 21, of Benwick; Nython Fox, 18, of Wisbech; Sophie Freeman, 18, of Wisbech; Aston Gibb, 20, of March; Abbie Mawby, 20, of Doddington; Melissa Plumb, 19, Wisbech; Tim Page, 24, Wisbech; Trixie Swiderek, 17, of Wisbech; Jeanette Ginkler, 25, of March; Stuart Towers, 19, of Wisbech.