Merseyside is saluting its 200th group of children to complete a course that inspires confidence and gives them a renewed respect for our emergency services.
Run by the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, the Beacon Project is a six-week development course in teamwork, communication skills, problem-solving, working with others and resilience.
At its 21st birthday presentation ceremony at Kirkdale Community Fire Station recently it also unearthed a young woman who not only wants to join the Fire Service – she wants to be its chief! Basema (10) was one of 12 children who took part in the course from St Anne’s Catholic Primary School in the L7 area and said: “I really liked the Rat Run and the Smoke House. I always wanted to be in the fire service but now I have decided I want to be the Chief.”
So enthusiastic is she in pursuing the role that Basema donned current Chief Fire Officer Phil Garrigan OBE’s hat for part of the presentation ceremony!
Her trailblazing example caught the attention of Superintendent Georgina Garvey, the Head of the Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership, who fund Beacon.
“The number of females serving in the fire, ambulance and military has grown dramatically over the last few years and of course, the police service has a female Chief Constable and Police and Crime Commissioner
We still need great pioneers like Basema though to make that situation business as usual. What I admire about Beacon is that it inspires all the young people involved and makes them allies and ambassadors for the emergency services protecting and serving Merseyside.”Superintendent Georgina Garvey, the Head of the Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership
The scheme began life as a programme for secondary school students who were struggling with their academic studies and needed additional support. Following a hiatus when the Fire Service cadet scheme was founded, it returned with MVRP funding and was even taught during COVID. Two past students, who were on separate Beacon courses, got married recently! Now a fully-fledged fire fighter, Mark Buchannan began his career as a Youth Advocate on Beacon. “It’s better now that it’s aimed at primary school pupils. They are at that age where they are transitioning to secondary school and need good influences.”
With an average student intake of 12, Beacon can justifiably claim it has altered the course of many young lives in Merseyside and stood the test of time better than many similar courses around Britain.
“The sustainability of Beacon is mighty impressive which means they are delivering something of immense quality and relevance. Emergency services rely on the goodwill and support of the public, knowing they cannot do their jobs single-handedly and Beacon bridges a gap that benefits the entire community. It also helps create tomorrow’s police, ambulance, and fire officers and, it now seems – those who manage them!”Superintendent Georgina Garvey, the Head of the Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership
Pictured left to right are Basema and Phil Garrigan OBE Chief Fire Officer at the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.