The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today announced that he is to invest £1.1 million of new City Hall funding in the London Fire Cadets programme to create positive opportunities for more than 500 young Londoners.
The investment will help create 15 new Fire Cadets Units across the capital, meaning every London borough will have at least one unit over the next two years.
There are currently around 235 Fire Cadets based in 15 units in the capital, with seven more due to open this month. This additional funding will provide opportunities for up to 300 more places each year for 11-17 year olds in every part of London, as part of the Mayor’s ongoing commitment to provide young people with constructive activities.
Fire Cadets take part in a range of activities such as fire safety, basic first aid and firefighting skills, a programme aimed at improving their confidence, wellbeing, communication and employability skills. Each cadet also has the opportunity to obtain formal qualifications for completing the programme.
Since the cadet programme started in 2013, 750 young people have graduated from the scheme, including 50 who have gone on work as firefighters, control staff and inspection officers in the London Fire Brigade. The Brigade is looking to utilise the diversity of the cadet force for future recruitment, with 55 per cent of current cadets being girls and 49 per cent being BAME.
Sadiq is committed to giving young people positive things to do to keep them off the streets and away from crime. In addition to this funding for Fire Cadets, the Mayor’s Young Londoners Fund is investing £45m in projects and programmes that are giving more than 60,000 young Londoners better life opportunities. These interventions are against the backdrop of government’s repeated cuts to vital youth services since 2010 which have seen local authority youth service budgets cut by almost 50 per cent, resulting in the closure of 81 youth centres and the loss of at least 800 full-time youth workers in the capital*.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The London Fire Brigade is doing fantastic work with young people across London through its Fire Cadets programme and I am delighted that this additional funding will mean that they can equip over 500 young people – from every community and background – with essential life skills, as well as help to develop some of the firefighters of tomorrow.
“Youth services such as the Fire Cadets are vital for Londoners and I will continue to do everything in my power to fund and support the fantastic programmes, schemes and charities that are making a real and lasting difference to our young people.”
London Fire Brigade Commissioner, Dany Cotton, said: “The funding will mean many more young people in London will have the opportunity to become a Fire Cadet. Our scheme gives young people the opportunity to gain a BTEC qualification, improves confidence and encourages them to take an active role in their communities.
“Over half of our cadets are young women showing that London’s youth are challenging stereotypes of the fire service. The expansion of our programme will help break down barriers further and hopefully lead to more women becoming interested in the fire service in the future.”