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Cornish Youth Project Hailed as National Example
11:47am 20th November 2013
A pioneering idea to train hundreds of Cornish youngsters to help deal with emergencies could go national.
Members of groups like the scouts, guides and military cadets have been doing the Duke of Cornwall Community Safety Award.
It means if things like flooding or heavy snow hit they can step in.
Devon and Cornwall Assistant Chief Constable Paul Netherton will address a conference in Northamptonshire to encourage senior officers to adopt the scheme across the UK.
He told Pirate FM: "I think it's a really positive message and it's a really great thing for Cornwall to shout about, to say look at what the young people in Cornwall are doing and it's something that the rest of the country should follow suit on.
"It teaches them confidence, it teaches them about what to do when something bad is happening but the second thing is it teaches communities that young people are a part of their community and DO care about what happens in their community and want to help people who need assistance."
The award was launched by the Devon and Cornwall Local Resilience Forum (LRF) in 2012 in response to significant flooding in Cornwall in recent years.
In 2010 HRH Prince Charles visited Lostwithiel to see first hand the aftermath of flooding and questioned why youth organisations were not effectively engaged in the recovery effort, as is often the case in other countries.
The Community Safety Award was developed to give young people in the UK the first chance to learn what to do in an emergency situation such as severe weather, a pandemic or long-term power cut.
In just 18 months, more than 5,000 uniformed young people from Cornwall, Devon and the UK, plus Scouts from Hong Kong and Ghana, have completed the award.
ACC Netherton will be joined by Tony Garvin, who has been instrumental in the scheme, plus three Cornish teenagers; Police Cadet Rosie Swann, 18, from The Roseland, Scout Andrew Pewsey, 17 from Falmouth, and Girl Guide Kathryn Teague, 16, from near Bodmin.
He added: "This scheme has been hugely successful here in Cornwall and we have seen great value in the education and training of young people in emergency response.
"This award not only teaches young people how to protect themselves but makes them think about how to prepare their families and consider vulnerable young people in their communities.
"There is also the potential for young people to provide valuable resources in the recovery phase of any incident under the safe management of their own organisation. We have seen excellent examples of this happening internationally in the 2009 earthquake in central Italy and 2004 Boxing Day tsunami – so why not here?
"Young people in Cornwall have truly embraced this scheme and our vision now is to create a national award. There is the potential to reach 1.5 million uniformed young people to give them an understanding of what to do and how to provide essential community support during a major crisis. We will be calling on senior police officers and politicians at the conference to help us achieve this vision.
"Whilst we cannot prevent natural disasters from happening, we can ensure that the next generation is better prepared and ready to help others in times of crisis throughout the UK."
Tony Garvin added: "I am delighted that what started out originally as a Community Safety Badge to help Scouts to develop a greater understanding of what to do in an emergency situation such as fire, flood, snow or a severe heat wave has developed into the wider Duke of Cornwall Community Safety Award. It is fantastic that the award has proved to be so popular in Cornwall and now has the potential to be taken up nationally and internationally to give even more uniformed young people the opportunity to prepare and be ready to help their local community in times of need."
For more information: www.communitysafetyaward.org
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