Left to right Isabella Fraser, Damian Smith, Jan Lloyd and Anouar Kassim.
22 May 2008
Community leaders met Chief Fire Officer Damian Smith at Bletchley Fire Station this week to take part in a “Dragon’s Den” style forum based on local community safety issues.
In the TV show, contestants have to pitch good business ideas to rich entrepreneurs. In Mr Smith’s version, members of Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service’s community safety team, and Bletchley Fire Station Manager Dave Norris, had to win support for their ideas from a panel comprising Isabella Fraser from Campbell Park Parish Council, Anouar Kassim from Milton Keynes Equalities Council and Jan Lloyd from Bletchley and Fenny Stratford Town Council.
The winner was Pete Jones, Community Safety Partnership Manager for Milton Keynes, who will now pilot a practical and challenging two-day course for young people in the 12 to 14 age group from diverse community backgrounds.
It will give participants an insight into the work Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service does to prevent emergency incidents from happening in the first place, and some of the challenges it faces when dealing with the consequences of anti-social behaviour, such as deliberate fire-setting.
Mr Smith said: “Each of the presentations focused on how Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service could help in what have been traditionally difficult-to-reach areas of the community.
“We were delighted with the response from our three community leaders, who examined the proposals and offered their expertise in tailoring raw ideas into projects which can be better directed to the needs of the communities which our fire stations, in partnership with other agencies, serve.
“In spite of our name, we do so much more than put out fires and rescue people! Firefighters are strong role models in the world of community safety and their work is integral to the development of community cohesion.”
Pete’s pilot scheme, which will be launched later this year, will involve pupils from Leon and Lord Grey Schools.