South Yorkshire groups to make communities safer under Fire Authority funding scheme

Charities and community groups across South Yorkshire will deliver work to reduce fires, traffic collisions and water deaths, after being awarded funding by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority.

Sixteen projects focussing on issues including loneliness, hoarding and water safety will all benefit from the funding which has been made available under the Authority’s Stronger Safer Communities Reserve.

The schemes being supported range from an older persons befriending initiative and a falls prevention slipper swap project, to help for people with learning disabilities and the production of a virtual reality motorbike safety film.

This is the third time that local organisations have benefitted from the funding. The Fire Authority has also provided money to support the installation of sprinklers in higher-risk residential accommodation.

Last year the fire service published plans which included a commitment to work more closely with community organisations to increase the reach of its safety work.

Fire Authority Chair Cllr Linda Burgess, said: “The Authority believes that charities, community organisations and other local groups can play an important part in supporting the work of the fire service to make our communities safer and stronger. Members look forward to seeing how the money which has been allocated following a rigorous assessment process will deliver real and far-reaching benefits for local people.”

The Stronger Safer Communities Reserve is a Fire Authority scheme which reinvests money into local communities to support the fire service’s work to prevent emergencies. The money has been set aside from the Authority’s reserves.

Research carried out by social return on investment specialists found that projects delivered through both of the fund’s previous bidding rounds produced nearly £5 million worth of benefits to local people.

This time, local partners, charities and community organisations were able to bid for funding ranging from £5,000 to £100,000. There were 48 applications for funding, with the final list of 16 successful projects being decided by an assessment board. The funding allocated totals £639,000.

The full list of funded projects can be found here

Stay well this winter

Keep yourself warm this winter to help protect your health. Keep an eye on family, friends and neighbours, especially those over 65, who may need extra help to stay well this winter.

https://youtu.be/-fx5bXq43f8

Our top 10 tips to stay well this winter:

  1. Don’t get caught out – keep up to date with the weather forecast
  2. Heat your home to at least 18oC (65oF) – You might want your main living room to be slightly warmer
  3. Hot drinks and food – Have plenty of hot drinks and a hot meal every day
  4. Remember to layer up – by wearing layers of thin clothing rather than one thick layer, you will trap heat better to keep warmer
  5. Wrap up on the sofa – when sitting for long periods of time wrap a blanket around you
  6. Keep active when indoors – Try not to sit still for more than an hour at a time. Even whilst sitting you can move your arms and legs or wiggle your fingers and toes
  7. Keep your bedroom window closed on winter nights – breathing in cold air can be bad for your health as it increases the risk of chest infections
  8. Protect yourself from flu – If you’re entitled to a flu jab make sure you have it
  9. Make sure you’re receiving all the help that you’re entitled to – Learn how to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating and keep up with your energy bills at www.gov.uk/phe/keep-warm
  10. And check your heating and cooking appliances are safe – Contact a Gas Safe registered engineer to make sure they’re operating properly. Visit www.gassaferegister.co.uk

Fire Authority approves council tax rise

The fire service’s governing Fire Authority decided to increase its portion of Council Tax by 2.97% next year, at its budget setting meeting on 19 February.

Current indications are that South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue will lose around £700,000 in its Government funding in 2018/19, when compared with 2017/18.

The decision to increase council tax will raise around £714,000 in annual funding for the fire service- the equivalent of around 20 firefighters.

Young people honoured by Royal visit

Dearne fire station had a very special visit last week when His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales met with young people on the Prince’s Trust Team Programme.

As part of the visit, His Royal Highness, President of the Prince’s Trust met with young people, took part in a discussion group with former course members and witnessed a role play scenario carried out by Team members with the help of fire station staff.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) and South Yorkshire Police (SYP) teamed up to deliver the Prince’s Trust Team Programme. It is a 12 week personal development course for unemployed 16 – 25 year olds, offering work experience, qualifications, practical skills, community projects and a residential week.

The event was also attended by local dignitaries and friends and family of the young people.

SYFR Station Manager Spencer Rowland said; “It was a great honour to welcome The Prince of Wales to Dearne fire station and to be given the chance for the young people to demonstrate how far they have come on the Team Programme. It will be a day the young people cherish for the rest of their lives.”

Would you like to be part of the next Team Programme?  We are recruiting for the members of the Rotherham Barnsley and Sheffield programmes, to be part of the Team or for further details contact John Daley on 07769 887249 or princestrust@syfire.gov.uk.

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Changes to Home Safety Checks service

We have carried out tens of thousands of home safety visits in South Yorkshire over the last decade, including the fitting of hundreds of thousands of free smoke alarms. We believe this work has contributed to big falls in the number of accidental house fires during that time.

However, the majority of the visits we have undertaken have been to homes which are unlikely to ever suffer a serious fire. This is based upon detailed analysis of our historical incident data and the factors which we know are likely to contribute to a person’s likelihood of suffering a fire.

To continue to reduce house fires, deaths and injuries we believe we need to become even more targeted in the way we deliver our prevention work.

To achieve this, we are changing our Home Safety Checks service from 1 March so that safety advice continues to be given to all, but home visits by fire service staff are only offered for free to those most at risk of fire based upon some clearly defined risk criteria.

Those who self-refer themselves to us, but who are deemed to be lower risk based upon these criteria, will be offered the information and advice to carry out a home safety check themselves. You can find out more or request a visit using our online form here

People who are referred to us by our network of more than 130 Safe & Well referral partners will continue to receive a free visit by a member of fire service staff.

The changes we are making were one of the changes we announced in plans which were published in April 2017, following a period of public consultation. You can read our Integrated Risk Management Plan 2017-20  in full here

Fire Authority to consider Council Tax precept rise

The fire service’s governing Fire Authority will decide whether to increase its portion of Council Tax by 2.97% next year, at its budget setting meeting this month.

Current indications are that South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue will lose around £700,000 in its Government funding in 2018/19, when compared with 2017/18.

Householders in Band D currently pay £68.96 per year for their Fire and Rescue Service, around £1.33 per week. The decision to increase council tax would raise around £714,000 in annual funding for the fire service- the equivalent of around 20 firefighters.

Fire Authority Members will make their decision on Council Tax at the fire and rescue authority meeting on Monday 19 February.

Success for anti-social behaviour project

A group of young people in Rotherham have taken part in a ‘passing out’ event, after completing a five day course aimed at reducing anti-social behaviour in the city.

The event took place last week at Rotherham fire station and saw the young people carrying out a display in the station drill yard to start off the presentation.

The group of nine, aged 13-16, took part in the Achieving Respect and Confidence (ARC) project, a joint initiative between South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, South Yorkshire Police and other partner agencies.

The course, which mixes practical training with some classroom-based learning, is aimed at young people who have offended, are at risk of offending or have been victims of crime.

The project aims to highlight the consequences of antisocial behaviour and to improve self-discipline, team spirit, fire safety awareness, life skills and values which will improve the life chances of the young people involved.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s Simon Brookes, Community Safety Watch Manager said:  “The course helps the young people not just in terms of teaching them firefighting skills and techniques, but also by showing them the value of things like teamwork, discipline and communication.

“We encourage them to think about their behaviour and to make positive choices towards improving their life chances.”