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It is evident from the range of articles contained within this issue that we are a versatile service, operationally and in terms of our community interventions. From flood rescues in St. Helens, rescues from height at Seaforth Container Terminal, to large fires in Liverpool,
we are there providing an excellent Fire & Rescue response, day in, day out. This is particularly pleasing given the challenges we have and continue to face.
We should equally recognise
the great work our staff are
undertaking in partnership
with Merseyside Police and the Prince’s Trust.
As you will be aware the Prince’s Trust Team Programme is a 12-week personal development course designed to help young adults improve their employability, teamwork and community skills.
It is open to anyone aged 16-25 (this extends to your own family and friends) who is unemployed. We currently run four programmes, based at Bootle, Croxteth, Huyton and Kirkby.
There is a lot of criticism aimed at young people today which is often not deserved. The Prince’s Trust is an excellent example of how young people can grow in confidence by challenging themselves and contributing to their community. Many of the team members come from extremely challenging circumstances. Recently that has included refugees from the Syrian conflict. They come to us having been through traumatic experiences which no person should have to endure. It is a credit to staff working with the teams that these young people complete the programme having made great progress in terms of confidence, self-esteem and close friendships. We wish them well and look forward to the next Team Programmes beginning in September.
I cannot mention young people without also recognising the work of our young Fire Cadets and the volunteers and staff who are supporting the expansion of the programme. The five units follow the National Fire Cadets programme funded by the Youth United Foundation, a network of uniformed organisations who work with young people to help them engage with their communities. The units only came into being in January this year and have already achieved a great deal, so we can expect to see a lot more from them in the future.
On the theme of new beginnings, this September we welcome our new cohort of 16 Firefighters in training. They have already successfully navigated a rigorous selection process to get to this point which is admirable in itself, but now the real work begins in training them to become community Firefighters.
I’m sure you will join me in welcoming them into the Service.
Deloitte has been appointed as external consultants to develop an outline business case to transform corporate services across Merseyside Fire & Rescue, Merseyside Police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC). Specialist advisors will work with staff from
the three organisations over the next twelve weeks, examining different functions in order to identify where improvements can be made. At the end of the process, Deloitte will present options for change for each individual organisation and as a collaborative endeavour.
In common with all of the emergency services, Firefighters will in the course of their careers witness many traumatic events and critical incidents. The role of a Firefighter is at times stressful and challenging, so it is pleasing to see that we have a number of staff volunteering to become Critical Incident debriefers and that staff have volunteered to act as Blue Light Champions to provide support for colleagues across the Service.
It is also really pleasing to hear that our work in this field is being acknowledged nationally with MFRS shortlisted for awards in relation to its work on mental health, well-being and occupational support services. As a service that is so focused on the welfare of others, it is also important that we look after our own staff and this is a great example.
As we move forward we will face many challenges to the Service and we may have to make significant changes to the way we work in order to adapt.
The greatest resource we have and the thing that will continue to make us resilient are the people who work here- Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is definitely greater than the sum of its parts.
Dan Stephens
Chief Fire Officer

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