What is Junior FireFit?
Junior Fire Fit is an innovative Sportivate project which has multiple benefits, combining fire education and the promotion of healthy living and fitness; resulting in a long lasting effect on their outlook and behaviour in their schools and local communities. The afterschool, six session course is designed for students aged 11-15 who are irregular or consistently inactive. Working with teachers at specifically targeted schools we identify individuals who do not pro-actively participate in any form of physical activity. The course covers topics such as the life of a fire fighter; diet and nutrition; health and wellbeing; hoax and arson; community fire safety; and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The sessions include practical challenges, fitness circuits and also included key skills in first aid, where the students learnt how to perform CPR and use a defibrillator. A hands on experience of physical activity that is involved in becoming Firefighter.
The project aims to transform the lives of young people who currently do not actively participate in physical education. We aim to trigger changes in behaviour, improve confidence and increase self-esteem. Ultimately we aim to develop young people’s understanding of the importance of living a healthier and more active lifestyle. Using the role of a Firefighter as inspiration.
What was the need or issue which sparked the project and how did we address it?
Our Service recognise that we have the opportunity to improve the health and well-being of the population we serve. We also have the need to continue to find alternative and more engaging ways to communicate some of our key fire safety messages to young adults in an import stage in their lives.
We provide an emergency service to a multi-cultural society where delivering key fire safety messages to parts of our community can be challenging for simple reasons such as language barriers. The course enables us to diversify our work and have a wider impact on the local community, using specially designed Fire fitness activities as the vehicle to pass on important fire education and health messages to young people.
We specifically target schools like Cressex Community School for a number of reasons. We believe that an injection of Physical activity will have a positive reflection on the pupil’s school results and behaviours. We received various hoax calls to the schools catchment area in the last 18 months and our research and social demographic data suggests that the catchment area is a key area we need to target and educate to reduce the volume of emergency calls we currently receive.
How did we design and deliver the right experience for people attending the project?
The project was an opportunity to trial unique ways to deliver key fire safety messages, using physical activity as a vehicle to deliver these as well as incorporating important health and wellbeing messages.
We created a course that felt current, appealing and had a ‘cool’ identity that our audience could connect with. We inspired the students by holding the first session at Wycombe Fire Station, the students got to the see Firefighters in action, getting a good understanding of what life of a Firefighter involves. We incorporated Incentives to help with regular attendance, with each student receiving a Fire kit, a FireFit branded sports top and water bottle, fresh fruit at the start of each session and a personal Pedometer to participate in weekly Steps challenges. We felt it was important to encourage continual participate in physical activity throughout the week to help maximising our impact on the students.
The final session focused on sustaining ongoing activity and engaging the participants with the brand new local Sports Centre, where the group tried out a range of new sports and were given a full induction to the gym and a free 30 day pass to help encourage continual participation in physical activity.
What impact has the project had?
The project has been a huge success, this is reflected in the course retention rate with 97% of the participants completing course. Successful completion entitled the participant to a 30 day free gym pass and a month of free squash lessons to help encourage continual participation in physical activity.
Incorporating a steps challenge and the use of pedometers as a tool to gauge the participant’s continual activity throughout the duration of the course has given us some great results. On average each participant increased their daily step average by over 5,000 steps by the end of the course.
We carried out a pre-course questionnaire which highlighted that nearly 50% of the participants had previously deliberately started a fire. The same participants that are now helping to communicate key fire safety messages to help educate friends, families and members of their local community. 76% of which are from a minority ethnic groups. Key groups we identified to target and educate.
The initial feedback on improvement in school behaviour has also been fantastic. One teacher quoting:
“Behaviour of the girls has maintained in being excellent and the girls have taken the skills they have learnt in order to improve further academically.”