Young people in Rotherham have passed out with flying colours, after completing a rigorous fire station course aimed at reducing anti-social behaviour in the borough.
The youngsters, aged 13-17, took part in a Achieving Respect and Confidence (ARC) course, a joint initiative between South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, Rotherham Council and other partner agencies including South Yorkshire Police.
The project’s aim is to highlight the consequences of anti-social behaviour and provide an intensive multi-agency work experience course, instilling discipline, team spirit, fire safety awareness, life skills and values which will improve the life chances of the young people involved.
The course is aimed at young people who have offended, are at risk of offending or have been victims of crime.
Activities included a self-defence class and fire drills run by firefighters at Rotherham fire station, which hosted the week long course and the young people were supported by staff from Integrated Youth Support Services to enable them to attend and complete. Youngsters were also visited by serving prisoners, to talk to them about the potential consequences of crime and anti-social behaviour.
The passing out parade which marked the end of the project was held in front of the youngster’s family members and dignitaries including the Mayor of Rotherham, John Foden.
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s youth engagement officer Keith Watts, said: “The input from the other agencies has been critical in encouraging these young people to think about their behaviour and through discipline and teamwork, make positive choices towards improving their life chances.
“We’ve been running courses like this successfully for several years now and their effectiveness is borne out through a steady reduction in the number of anti-social behaviour related fires our crews are having to attend.”