Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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ECFRS's Les Nicoll appears on the big screen

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service appeared on the big screen after Community Connector Les Nicoll helped promote the work of a project that supports elderly people living in isolation.

The film, which was produced by ITN, captured Les talking to residents from an Essex care home who are receiving support from project FaNs (Friends and Neighbours). The scheme has been running since June 2014 and aims to improve the quality of life of older residents.

Les, who has worked for the Service since 1969, enjoyed talking to residents and was particularly impressed with 104-year-old great grandmother, Sylvia Young, who still practices calligraphy.

ECFRS forms part of a support network that talks to and gives advice to vulnerable people along with other organisations that includes Essex Police, Essex County Council, Trading Standards and the NHS.

Les said: “FaNs plays an active role in making sure our elderly residents do not feel isolated within our community. By visiting vulnerable people, the Service promotes a culture of safety and trust within our community. It was clear from the visit that people of all ages still love their fire brigade.

“Over 80 per cent of my work for the Service involves reaching out to the most vulnerable members our community and these include elderly residents who could feel isolated.

“Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is a part of this community and I enjoy talking to our senior citizens. FaNs has proved that even a lady aged 104 has something to give to her community. Her calligraphy was amazing.”

Les has previously won the Service’s Lifetime Achievement Award. This award is given to employees who have devoted their lifetime supporting local groups, projects and communities.

Through FaNs, he plans to visit an Essex care home around eight times a year.

FaNs is a three year programme funded by Essex County Council and led by the My Home Life Essex Community Association, working in partnership with Age UK Essex and Independent Age.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Paul Hill said: “Essex County Fire and Rescue Service has recognised over many years that vulnerable members of our communities have complex needs, and meeting them alongside partners supports a number of public sector agendas.

“The elderly population and the maintenance of their connection to the wider community is good for everyone and we are pleased to be part of this activity.”

For more information on My Home Life Essex visit www.mhlec.org.

To view ITN’s video that was broadcast on Friday November 13, visit www.itnproductions.wistia.com/medias/bmwizjcvb6.

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