Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Youngsters Learn The Benefits Of Safe Fireplay

Fire service funding is helping to educate young minds about the dangers of playing with fire.

New Ark Play Association, in Peterborough, is one of two community groups to have received funding from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service's (CFRS) Community Fund.

Children from as young as three and to up to the age of 15 learn about fire safety, cooking on a fire and the dangers of playing with fire all through the organisation's carefully structured programme at the New Ark Adventure Playground, which has been awarded £500 by the Service.

Elisabeth Buck, coordinator at New Ark, said: "We think that children learning to use fire safely will not become arsonists.

"We start teaching children about fire safety and cooking on a fire from the age of 3 in our Eco Playgroups. These younger children learn quickly to have a respect for our 'fire rules', sitting glued to their log seats, not moving around in the fire area. They enjoy using a Kelly kettle to make hot chocolate and they like making popcorn, dampers and pancakes.

"Our older children also enjoy fire sessions and some of them learn to make a fire, light it and look after it. The children always collect materials for the fire, learning quickly how to recognise a dry stick by its 'crack'."

The CFRS Community Fund has been set up so local groups can run deliberate fire reduction projects in their own communities. New Ark, along with Meadows Children and Family Wing, in Cambridge, were successfully granted funding following the launch of the scheme earlier this year.

The fund is managed by Cambridgeshire Community Foundation and is a one-year pilot designed to support innovation and creativity in communities, helping people to tackle local arson issues, building on the Government¿s concept of localism.

Cllr Janet Goodwin, Vice-Chairman of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority, said: "The scheme at New Ark is unique in educating young people about the benefits of safe fire use while showing them the real dangers of it.

"This fund is aimed at projects that show innovative ways of engaging the community to get closer to the problem of deliberate fire setting and we hope to see more ideas like this one come forward.

"This is about creating sustainable projects that empower local people to help solve problems in their own communities."

Community groups are encouraged to submit their applications for cash as the next lot of funding is now available. Any groups or organisations wanting to submit an application for a grant should log on to www.cambscf.org.uk(opens in a new window) to access an online application form

Applications should be submitted directly to the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation, before a board of CFRS personnel and the Chairman of the Authority choose the most suitable ones.