Kids get lessons on impact of arson

Boldon Project's Dave Johnson receives the groups award from Coun Joanne Bell, at Hebburn Fire Station
Boldon Project's Dave Johnson receives the groups award from Coun Joanne Bell, at Hebburn Fire Station

Devastation caused by anti-social fires has been highlighted to a youth group.

Youngsters from Boldon took part in a day of firefighting fun at Hebburn fire station.

The visit – part of the Lighter Nights campaign – aimed to show the impact arson attacks can have on communities.

The young people, aged between 11 and 16, were from South Tyneside Positive Activities, a charity which runs the weekly Bored In Boldon youth group.

Throughout the day, the young people took part in various drills and visited Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service’s headquarters in Washington, where they undertook a number of team-building exercises.

At the end of the day, the group were presented with certificates from South Tyneside Fire Authority member Coun Joanne Bell, who is also a Labour ward representative for Boldon.

She said: “We were delighted to welcome members of the Young People’s project to Hebburn Community Fire station as part of the Lighter Nights campaign.

“The project is a huge success, providing young people in Boldon with a range of activities to become involved in.

“We’ve already seen a significant reduction in fires in the Boldon area since the project was established.

“The visit was an excellent opportunity to talk to them about issues that affect them and we will continue to encourage them in their excellent work and assist them with it whenever we can.”

Steve Southern, project co-ordinator for South Tyneside Positive Activities, said: “The young people who attended were really engaged in the sessions and came away learning quite a lot about the real impact anti-social fires can have on a community.

“Hopefully, they will now spread the message to their friends and the rest of the community of Boldon.

“It was a really good day and everyone really enjoyed themselves.”

The Lighter Nights campaign is a joint venture between Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, Northumbria Police, South Tyneside Council and South Tyneside Homes.

The initiative, which aims to tackle anti-social behaviour – including deliberate fires – is in response to an increase in anti-social behaviour and arsons as the lighter nights arrive.

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