Thousands of South Yorkshire’s most vulnerable people will be made safer thanks to a £700,000 fire funding windfall.
Nineteen charities, community groups and health partners have been awarded money under the second round of South Yorkshire Fire Authority’s Safer Stronger Communities Reserve fund.
The scheme, now in its second year, is the only fire service backed grant scheme of its kind anywhere in the country.
Sixty-four bids were received for the fund which had been set aside from the Authority’s reserves, before these were whittled down to the final shortlist.
Key objectives for successful bids included prioritising the most vulnerable people in society and projects which combined fire safety with improving people’s health and wellbeing. Groups could bid for a maximum of £150,000.
Highlights of the successful bids include:
• A 12 week personal development programme at Barnsley fire station for 16 to 25 year olds who are not currently in education, employment or training
• A ‘fire buddies’ scheme which will recruit and train volunteers to visit the homes of isolated older people in some of Sheffield’s poorest neighbourhoods
• Pop-up safety stations to provide fire and personal safety information for people in Edlington, Doncaster
• A Rotherham-based project to develop road safety education materials suitable for people with autism and learning disabilities
Fire Authority Chair Cllr Jim Andrews, said: “By giving these grants to well researched, well planned projects to support our work in some of South Yorkshire’s most vulnerable neighbourhoods we are, in effect, fire proofing the county.
“The first year of funding highlighted how even a small amount of financial support from the Fire Authority can enable local communities to make a real difference in improving fire safety.
“This year, the fund was once more heavily over-subscribed so 19 projects the Authority has decided to award funding to really are the best of the best.”
Deputy Chief Fire Officer John Roberts, said: “Fires have been falling steadily in South Yorkshire for many years and the county is safer now than it has been at any time in its history. But for as long as people continue to suffer the devastating effects of fires, there will always be more work to do.
“The best way for us to further reduce emergency incidents is to work with partners like those which have applied for support from this grant scheme. It’s these organisations which can help us reach the most vulnerable people in our communities.
“A particular focus for us in coming years is the wider positive impact the fire and rescue service can make in our communities, particularly in terms of improving people’s health and wellbeing. Many of the schemes we’ve awarded funding to reflect this aspiration.”