Fire Cadets showed off their skills to their new Patron at an event held to mark the official launch of their unit.
Young people from Rushmoor Cadets carried out an impressive firefighting drill and parade in front of HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, Nigel Atkinson, Esq.
The Lord-Lieutenant has become the first Patron of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service’s Cadets and got to see how the programme is making a difference to the lives of young people across our communities.
Fire Cadets offers people aged between 13 and 17 the chance to gain essential social, life, work and wellbeing skills, in a fun and challenging environment.
During their weekly meetings they complete a BTEC Fire Service in the Community qualification and learn about first aid and fire safety.
HIWFRS now has five Fire Cadet units – all based at fire stations and led by volunteers, with support and input from operational firefighters.
The Lord-Lieutenant said:
“I am delighted to officially become Patron of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service’s Fire Cadets.
“Fire Cadets provides young people with a fantastic opportunity to learn new skills and disciplines for the benefit of themselves and their communities, whilst having fun and making friends.
“I commend the commitment and care shown by the volunteers who make Fire Cadets possible and the dedication of all those who take part.”
HIWFRS now has 65 Fire Cadets and the 35 volunteers who support them are a combination of operational firefighters, retired or former personnel and members of the local community.
Rushmoor and Southsea Cadets were the latest units to launch and opened virtually in February 2021 due to Covid-19 restrictions. They and the units at Eastleigh, Gosport and Ringwood began meeting in person in mid-April, in line with national lockdown guidance.
Chief Fire Officer Neil Odin said:
“I am so pleased to attend the official opening of Rushmoor Fire Cadets and delighted to welcome the Lord-Lieutenant here as our new Patron.
“Throughout the pandemic, our volunteers have worked hard to keep Fire Cadets running virtually to support young people when they have needed us most.
“I am proud of all the Cadets and their leaders have achieved and look forward to seeing them develop and grow as their time with us progresses.”
During the launch 3SFire, a Community Interest Company wholly owned by Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire Authority, donated two training ladders, epaulette sliders for all cadet units, uniforms and helmets.
Chairman of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Authority, Councillor Rhydian Vaughan, said:
“The Fire Authority supported the plan to expand the number of Fire Cadets across our Service so I am pleased to hear about all the work that has been completed to set up new units and to learn about the difference Fire Cadets is making to young people, volunteers and our local communities.”
To find out more about Fire Cadets or how to volunteer as a leader go to hantsfire.gov.uk/community/young-people/fire-cadets/