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Young Barnsley homeless safer thanks for fire funding

Dozens of young homeless people in Barnsley are safer from fire, thanks to Fire Authority funding.

Centrepoint Barnsley has helped more than 110 people aged 16 to 25 by giving them training in fire, road and water safety ahead of them moving into fresh accommodation.

The charity has also distributed specially designed ‘move on packs’ containing everything from fire retardant bedding to safe cooking equipment- helping to give young people the safest possible start in their new homes.

Some have even been awarded ‘move on grants’ to help them buy reputable white goods, like fridges and tumble dryers. This avoids them buying cheap, dodgy appliances online which could put them at greater risk of fire.

Jacob, aged 23, and Megan, aged 17, are amongst the young people who’ve been helped under the scheme.

The couple were referred to a Centrepoint service in 2018, having been homeless for several months and sleeping in a local park. Megan was four months pregnant at the time of her arrival and the main concern for Centrepoint was to ensure that the family had a home to move in to when their baby was born.

The pair engaged in education modules at the fire and police service run Lifewise centre and were able to achieve qualifications in fire, road and water safety. This supported their application for a tenancy and they moved in to their own property a couple of weeks before their son George was born.

Megan and Jacob were also able to apply for a good quality white goods appliance for their property- an important safety measure for people on low incomes. Megan is now looking after George and Jacob enters into employment very soon.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Area Manager Steve Helps, said: “We were clear from the start that we wanted the funding the Fire Authority had made available to help us reach people in our communities who are most at risk of fire. The practical support and meaningful education this project has delivered to a targeted group of vulnerable young people is a brilliant illustration of how we’re achieving that goal.”

Centrepoint Barnsley works with the local authority and partners in the town to provide support accommodation. Along with a safe place to stay, it offers technical and practical support to help young people move on to live independently.

The charity’s ‘Engage, Educate, Encourage’ project was awarded £50,000 under South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority’s Stronger Safer Communities Reserve. The fund reinvests money into local communities to support our work to prevent emergencies. The money has been set aside from the Authority’s reserves.

This content was last updated on August 22nd, 2019