Junior Firefit

Junior Fire Fit is an innovative Sportivate project which has multiple benefits, combining fire education and the promotion of healthy living and fitness; resulting in a long lasting effect on their outlook and behaviour in their schools and local communities.


Vision

  • To transform the lives of young people who currently do not actively participate in physical education. We aim to trigger changes in behaviour, improving confidence and self-esteem.
  • To develop young peoples understanding of the importance of living a healthier and more active lifestyle. Using the role of a firefighter as inspiration, incorporating the delivery of key fire safety messages.

Aims and objectives

Build a more active, inclusive and healthier group of individuals by:

  • increasing understanding of the importance of a healthy, well balanced diet
  • encouraging participants to improve fitness levels through weekly practical sessions
  • developing communication & problem solving skills, through team building activities

Create a safer community through important educational messages and improved social interaction by:

  • gaining a greater understanding of road and fire safety
  • understanding the wider implications of making hoax calls and setting fires deliberately
  • educating participants to share their fire safety knowledge with friends, family and their community

Inspire and raise participants aspirations by enabling continued participation, supporting physical, educational and personal development by:

  • increasing daily levels of physical activity through a steps challenge
  • introducing participants to a range of physical activities and options available to continue to be active
  • teaching participants a range of practical firefighting and life saving medical skills

What is Junior FireFit?

Junior Fire Fit is an innovative Sportivate project which has multiple benefits, combining fire education and the promotion of healthy living and fitness; resulting in a long lasting effect on participants' their outlook and behaviour in their schools and local communities. The after school, six-session course is designed for students aged 11-15 who are irregular active or consistently inactive. Working with teachers at specifically targeted schools, we identify individuals who do not pro-actively participate in any form of physical activity. The course covers topics such as the life of a fire fighter; diet and nutrition; health and well-being; hoax and arson; community fire safety; and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The sessions include practical challenges, fitness circuits and key skills in first aid, where the students learnt how to perform CPR and use a defibrillator. It is a hands-on experience of the physical activity that is involved in becoming firefighter.

What was the need or issue which sparked the project and how did we address it?

Our service recognises that we have the opportunity to improve the health and well-being of the population we serve. We also have the need to continue to find alternative and more engaging ways to communicate some of our key fire safety messages to young adults in an important stage in their lives.

We provide an emergency service to a multi-cultural society where delivering key fire safety messages to parts of our community can be challenging for simple reasons such as language barriers. The course enables us to diversify our work and have a wider impact on the local community, using specially designed fire fitness activities as the vehicle to pass on important fire education and health messages to young people.

We specifically target schools like Cressex Community School for a number of reasons. We believe that an injection of physical activity will have a positive reflection on the pupil’s school results and behaviours. We received various hoax calls to the school in the last 18 months and our research and social demographic data suggests that the Schools catchment area is a key area we need to target and educate to reduce the volume of emergency calls we currently receive.

How did we design and deliver the right experience for people attending the project?

The project was an opportunity to trial unique ways to deliver key fire safety messages, using physical activity as a vehicle to deliver these as well as incorporating important health and well-being messages.

We created a course that felt current, appealing and had a ‘cool’ identity that our audience could connect with. We inspired the students by holding the first session at Wycombe Fire Station, the students got to the see Firefighters in action, getting a good understanding of what life of a Firefighter involves. We incorporated Incentives to help with regular attendance, with each student receiving a Fire kit, a FireFit branded sports top and water bottle, fresh fruit at the start of each session and a personal pedometer to participate in weekly Steps challenges. We felt it was important to encourage continual participate in physical activity throughout the week to help maximising our impact on the students. 

The final session focused on sustaining ongoing activity and engaging the participants with the brand new local sports centre, where the group tried out a range of new sports and were given a full induction to the gym and a free 30 day pass to help encourage continual participation in physical activity.

What impact has the project had?

The project has been a huge success, this is reflected in the course retention rate with 97% of the participants completing course. Successful completion entitled the participant to a 30 day free gym pass and a month of free squash lessons to help encourage continual participation in physical activity.

Incorporating a steps challenge and the use of pedometers as a tool to gauge the participant’s continual activity throughout the duration of the course has given us some great results. On average each participant increased their daily step average by over 5,000 steps by the end of the course.

We carried out a pre-course questionnaire which highlighted that nearly 50% of the participants had previously deliberately started a fire. The same participants that are now helping to communicate key fire safety messages to help educate friends, families and members of their local community. 76% of which are from a minority ethnic groups. Key groups we identified to target and educate.

The initial feedback on improvement in school behaviour has also been fantastic.

One teacher quoting:

Behaviour of the girls has maintained in being excellent and the girls have taken the skills they have learnt in order to improve further academically.

Teachers' Feedback

“As Head of Year 10 and their PE teacher, I can honestly say that this whole experience has benefited them greatly. Every one of these boys has “opened” up more since completing the course; they are confident and more outgoing and they all speak very positively of the programme and would relish the opportunity to do it again. It has given these shy young men the confidence boost they needed as they embark on their GCSE’s.”
Mr R Trimmer - Key Stage 4 Leader, Cressex Community School

“I have seen a massive change in Macadus and Jess in terms of their confidence and behaviour. Macadus has become more responsible and respectful towards teachers and peers, and Jess has been more willing to take chances and risks, and expanded her friendship circle.”
Mr L Ferguson -Year 8 Form Tutor, Cressex Community School

“The Fire Fit project has had a positive affect on the majority of the boys who attended. An increased awareness about life choices and its consequences have taken a turn for the positive. Ashley’s self-esteem and confidence has seen a massive improvement in how he deals with some difficult/challenging situations. The direct impact was he was one of the first students to organise their own work experience. 

Ryhs engages more positively with staff and peers due to a raise in his self-confidence. Argash, Sahl, Reece, Ngawang and Georgi have become positive role models. Shamriz, Muhib, Ibrahim have a real sense of awareness outside of school as well as in school.
Ahmer and Qasim appear to have really matured. Kieran has always worked hard 100% of the time but he now engages more with his peer group.”
Miss T Swaine - Head of Year 9, Cressex Community School
 

Additional information and tools

Contact us

For more information about the project contact:
Adam Burch
aburch@bucksfire.gov.uk