New Year, New Volunteers

Retired Firefighter and volunteer Frank Prentice discusses road safety during a school group tour of SkillZONE.

SkillZONE is calling for more volunteers to join its Gloucester safety education centre in the New Year and make a difference to young peoples’ lives by teaching them to stay safe.

Run through Gloucester Fire and Rescue Service and Gloucestershire County Council, SkillZONE is a state of the art building with a life size street scene inside.

School groups, clubs and the wider community make decisions on how they should stay safe in nine different situations such as hazards in the home, stranger danger online, experiencing difficulty in water and how to travel safely in a car, a bus or walking. 

SkillZONE’s Volunteer Manager, Will Knight, says; “People make New Year’s resolutions to do positive things and we hope this year they will consider giving something back to the community by teaching young people about safety.”

“Our volunteers are magic, they really are and SkillZONE has developed with their help but we need more volunteers from around the county to be guides or work on reception and help out at events.”

Volunteer guides take groups on a 2 hour tour of the centre scenarios where they encourage visitors to identify dangers and come up with ways to avoid risk.

Candidates come from all walks of life and are required to give a minimum of two days per month. Along with on- the- job training volunteers will gain other skills from courses given on; safeguarding, first aid, health and safety and equality and diversity. 

Student Anastasiya Belova, 17, says; “I became a volunteer here through my school and I thought it was a really cool place. Everyone is welcoming and I just enjoy interacting with young people. It’s good for my personal development as well.”

Volunteer and retired Firefighter Frank Prentice (pictured) says; “I find it interesting and it keeps you modern and in touch with young people. If a young person can remember just a few things about safety we tell them then it’s a good start in life. The feedback we have absolutely makes it worthwhile.”

Volunteer Jim Dale, a retired RAF Wing Commander, says; “When you can install something meaningful into youngsters about danger and they sit up and take notice, it is rewarding. It’s just nice to put something back into society.”

Retired Firefighter Bob Allison adds; “Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service is a great thing and SkillZONE which is part of that family is a wonderful resource. I like giving something back and I like to use my skills to be of value.”

To apply to be a volunteer email volunteer@glosfire.gov.uk or phone 01452 834 150.