Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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ECFRS: Youth National Centre of Excellence

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service leading role in youth engagement has been recognised nationally with the Service becoming the National Centre for Excellence for the delivery of Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards throughout UK fire services.

In testament to the team’s ground-breaking youth work over the last decade it will take the national lead advising and administering all Fire Service Cadet D of E Awards on behalf of the Fire Service Youth Training Associations (FSYTA).

FYSTA have become a D of E National Operating Authority, which means that they hold a licence to deliver Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards nationwide, and ECFRS will be the National Account Managers for the D of E element within the National Fire Cadets Scheme.

Divisional Officer Neil Fenwick said: “We have long worked with the Duke of Edinburgh Awards delivering schemes locally with young firefighters here in Essex, but this award and agreement takes us to the next level making us the lead fire service on D of E nationwide.

“Any Service delivering D of E Awards as part of their Fire Cadet scheme will have full support from our expert team.

“We have always led the field in terms of fire service youth provision and this award makes us the lead service in the UK. It is a real feather in the cap of the whole team and reflects a great deal of hard work they have done not only in this bid but over the last eight years since we first included the awards as part of our Young Firefighters course.”

As well as overseeing all schemes Essex will run a help desk to give advice and guidance to other services as they establish D of E schemes for the first time.

Donna Finch, Youth Progression Manager, said: “Over the last few years we have seen our youth work expand into new areas, generate funding and help thousands of young people. We are proud that we will now have a vital role to play sharing our expertise with other services as they deliver D of E as part of their cadet schemes.

“All of the team and the instructors have put in a great deal of hard work over the years and this agreement recognises how important their contribution has been. Their dedication, commitment and professionalism is a real credit to them and ECFRS.”

The team attended the Fire Service Youth Training Association AGM, which was held in Brighton on March 27, where DO Neil Fenwick officially signed the agreement.

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