For once, the weather was kind – and ferocious winds and driving rain cleared up in time for full enjoyment to be gained from the weekend’s free skating rink in the Brook Street carpark, Woodbridge.
Let’s hope that the weather will continue as good tomorrow for the second day.
This last year has been hard for a lot of people – and most of all for families – and the expense of taking your children on a day out can be prohibitive. This event – brainchild of Town Councillor Caroline Blois, and funded by me from my Locality Budget – was intended to give some affordable fun to the young people of Woodbridge and their parents, while also bringing increased footfall into Woodbridge town centre in the dark days of winter.
Today certainly seemed to do this.
To top it all, the refreshments on offer were provided by Woodbridge’s very own Cake Shop Bakery, who only yesterday were crowned Britain’s Best Bakery.
If you ever get an invitation to see a Firebreak passing-out parade, don’t miss out.
I went to the passing-out parade at the Woodbridge firestation last Friday with no idea of what I was to expect – and was astonished by a virtuoso display of efficiency, competence and teamwork displayed by young recruits, all with a mere five days’ training under their belts!
They assembled, and swarmed up ladders, roped and rescued a survivor from a tall building, assembled various hoses, built a dam and put out an (imaginary) fire with real water in the most expert way – each needing to help and rely on the others in their team to ensure the operation ran effectively.
Firebreakis a youth engagement project run by Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service at fire stations across the county. Targeted particularly at young people in danger of disengagement, it is an amazing five day programme combining drill-ground and scenario-based training, with theory/discussion workshops. The activities are wide-ranging: hose drills, health and safety training, first aid training, wearing breathing apparatus, search and rescue training, using ladders and training in road traffic collisions. These are learned in a context that relies on punctuality, good behaviour, cleanliness of kit, teamwork, helping colleagues, good discipline and responsibility. The ultimate aim of the programme is to improve self-esteem, self discipline and responsibility.
At the passing-out parade the recruits receive certificates, demonstrate drills, and – possibly most importantly – each is publicly singled out by someone who has trained them, and the entire audience is told of their particular personal skills and abilities.
Firebreak is a superb programme. I really can’t commend it highly enough!
From 18-22 May, I walked 100km – 145,000 steps – along the Suffolk Coast. I walked with Just 42’s fundraiser Julia Hancock and Celine the dog, to raise funds to support young people in Woodbridge and the surrounding rural areas. Thanks to a lot of very generous sponsors we’ve raised nearly £2500.
And you can hardly believe the sheer amount of good that Just 42 will be able to do with such a sum!
On day 1 Julia Hancock, Celine the Dog and I raised enough to support 20 kids with complex needs for 3 weeks worth of Just42’s Mimic club. (You can see pictures of where we walked here)
On day 2 we raised enough extra to also support 30 kids at one of Just 42’s rural youth clubs for 6 weeks! (You can see pictures of where we walked here)
Day 3 we raised enough funding to also keep one of Just 42’s mobile youth clubs running for FIVE weeks. (You can see pictures of where we walked here)
And on Day 4 – guess what? Enough money to ALSO run a holiday club for 100 youngsters for a week! (You can see pictures of where we walked here)
Day 5 has raised enough to train 5 mentors who will support 15 young people in crisis every year! (You can see pictures of where we walked here)
Yes, it’s amazing how far the money will stretch when you want to use it to best advantage.
You can help us help Just42 help the young people of Suffolk Coastal. There is still time to sponsor us.
A final thank-you to the organisers of the Suffolk Challenge walk – part of the Suffolk Walking festival for allowing us to thump our fund-raising drums as we walked, to Lesley Dolphin and the EADT for covering our fundraising, and our fellow walkers – so many of whom supported us so generously