A crisis in firefighting could be a reality in Warwickshire in the future in the face of county council cuts, say members of a youth organisation.
The Warwickshire Association of Youth Clubs (WAYC) is urging people to sign a petition to persuade the county council to reverse its decision to axe the council-run Youth Firefighters’ Association (YFA), of which 250 young people are part.
The cutback was announced as part of measures to slash £2.4 million off the county’s fire and rescue service.
WAYC’s vice president Ben Wesson, a former Member of Youth Parliament for Warwickshire and former North Leamington School pupil, said: “It is shocking that the administration at county hall is considering disbanding the association.
“I recognise the difficult financial situation the council faces, but I think they could look at other options for cutting their expenditure, like reducing back office costs.
“Any proposal to do away with the young firefighters is short-sighted. Scrapping the scheme would place a cap on the ambitions of aspiring firefighters and could cause a crisis in firefighter recruitment in coming years.”
With groups in Warwick, Kenilworth, Shipston and Bidford, the YFA gives 11 to 18-year-olds the chance to learn firefighter skills and members also help to raise funds for charity. Membership is free and all members receive a full uniform.
Ben, 22, pointed out that parents had told the council they would contribute funding to keep the association going, “but the council has not been prepared to consider that offer”. To sign the petition, visit democratic.warwickshire.gov.uk/cmis5/Petitions/tabid/90/ID/51/petitionto-save-warwickshire-young-fire-fighters