09 March 2009>
Youngsters from across the Caerphilly county borough, who are either known offenders or at risk of offending, have been taking inspiration from the world of rap music in a bid to deliver important fire safety messages to others.
Four youngsters, aged between 12 and 17, took part in the "Arson Rap Project", a South Wales Fire and Rescue initiative, with the aims of reducing instances of arson, hoax calls, anti-social behaviour and car crime in the Caerphilly county borough.
The project looked at developing key skills with the young people, including communication skills, confidence building, improving team building skills, reading and writing skills and motivation.
The young people also had the opportunity as part of the project to write and record a rap to discourage others from committing crime in their area.
During the workshops, the youngsters also looked at raising awareness of:
- The actions and consequences of committing crime, and its effects on the victims, families, wider community and environment
- Bullying and peer pressure
- Joy riding
- The consequences of not wearing a seatbelt
- The implications of using a mobile phone while driving
- Drink/drug driving
- Underage drinking
- Anti-social behaviour
- Car crime
Cllr Lyn Ackerman said, "This project is excellent in that it looks at developing youngsters' key skills and deterring them from committing crime.
By working as a team, the young people also learned some important life skills such as improved communications, and the feeling that they have achieved something worthwhile and positive for themselves, their family and their local community."
The young people were rewarded for their efforts during the workshops with a trip to Caerphilly Fire Station. Here, they met with fire fighters who gave them a tour of the station and explained how the equipment was used. Throughout the visit, the youngsters were told how dangerous it is to commit arson and to make hoax calls, and the possible fatal consequences of them doing so.
They also had the opportunity to experience what it feels like to be in a "smoke filled" house, using goggles that are covered in material to distort vision. The young people had to enter the "house" and rescue the "victim" trapped inside.
The results proved extremely positive: the youngsters, in addition to enjoying the experience also gained valuable knowledge on just how dangerous the work of a fire fighter is, and how their actions can endanger not just their own lives, but the lives of many others too.
Kay Galvin, Arson Rap Project Manager said, "The Arson Rap has been carried out with 12 Groups within Caerphilly county borough over the last 12 months, with over 104 young people taking part from schools, colleges, and Youth Offending Services.
All of the groups have produced an excellent piece of work at the end of their series of 8 workshops, including professionally produced Rap CDs and graffiti art.
The groups have all learnt a great deal on the dangers and consequences of arson, car crime and anti-social behaviour, while also being able to participate in an activity that they may not normally be able to do."
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