Official opening of skillZONE and Gloucester South Station

Gloucestershire's state-of-the-art SkillZONE centre and Gloucester South Community Fire Station will be officially opened on 1st February. Since it was launched in September last year, SkillZONE has had nothing but praise from schools and community groups, delighted by the facility's mix of engaging practical scenarios and important safety messages. Meanwhile, as one of Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service's four new community fire stations, Gloucester South has already proven to be a huge asset, helping fire crews to meet their eight-minute response time and boosting their ability to protect county residents. The official launch of both premises will give guests the opportunity to see how a modern fire and rescue service operates, with a chance to meet crews, staff and volunteers who drive community safety in Gloucestershire. They will be opened by Chairman of Gloucestershire County Council, Tony Hicks, and children from the community. Gloucestershire's Chief Fire Officer Jon Hall and Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Leader of Gloucestershire County Council will also attend. Guests will be given a tour of SkillZONE by local theatre company Grace Productions, which will stage a live performance to highlight safety messages taught at the centre, with the involvement of children from Dean Academy and Newent School, and students from Gloscol. Deputy Chief Fire Officer Geoff Sallis said: "We are rightly proud of all our new community stations, which are well-placed to deal with emergencies anywhere in the county and which give our crews the chance to do their jobs to the best of their ability. "But prevention is just as important as our emergency response, and SkillZONE is a perfect way of promoting all our safety messages and life skills training to some of the most vulnerable people in the community." Cllr Will-Windsor-Clive, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: "In Gloucestershire, we have always been fortunate enough to have a professional and dedicated Fire and Rescue Service. "These two new buildings are an excellent addition to the tools at its disposal - and show just how forward-thinking and adaptable the service has become."