A group of young people have raised funds to renovate a charity community centre by selling items made from reclaimed firefighting equipment.
The 11 Prince’s Trust students raised more than £500 by making and selling keyrings, coasters and plant holders from recycled hose parts.
They then used the money to renovate The Salvation Army’s community centre and shop in Batley, West Yorkshire, as part of their 12-week personal development programme with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.
Captain Mark Cozens from The Salvation Army said “What a lift the volunteers have given to our furniture shop! They worked all week with enthusiasm and creative flair and the results are being commented on all the time.
“Our staff and customers are delighted with the refreshing of the space. The young people were great to work alongside and the whole activity was well prepared and supervised.
“The shop is a vital element of the work we do in the community. As well as raising funds, we are able to support people in need and also re-use unwanted items, doing our bit for the environment.”
“It was a coming together of organisations for community benefit and a partnership we hope will continue.”
Charlotte Smith, Team Leader at West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said, “We’re really proud of all the young people working on this project who identified the Salvation Army’s community centre and shop as a good way to give back to the local community.
“Their innovation and teamwork has been outstanding, from researching and implementing the idea to recycle, design and sell the hose products, to planning and completing the project in just two weeks.”
Renovation work included painting walls, designing artwork, re-organising furniture storage, revamping the kitchen area and tidying up the charity shop displays to make them more appealing to the customers.
Jack Merry, a Leeds-based participant in The Salvation Army project, said “Although the tasks to create the keyrings and coasters was frustrating at times and needed lots of patience and perseverance, it was worth it as we were never limited in terms of what resources we could buy to complete the project as we had raised a good amount of money.”
Student Lucy Tate, also from Leeds, said “The volunteers at the centre were really encouraging during our first visit, and this helped to stay focused and complete it to a high standard. Everything we did, we did it well, and as a team.”
Other participants in The Salvation Army project were from Halifax, Huddersfield, Birstall and Dewsbury.
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service works with the Prince’s Trust to deliver the ‘Team’ programme for people aged 16 to 25 who are not in education, employment or training, teaching skills for life and employability.
The programme is a challenging mix of team building activities, a community project, work placement and group work. Participants work to improve community safety and see first-hand the roles and responsibilities of the fire service, including practical activities on the drillsquare on a weekly basis throughout the 12 weeks.