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South Yorkshire groups to make communities safer under Fire Authority funding scheme 

Charities and community groups across South Yorkshire will deliver work to reduce fires, traffic collisions and water deaths, after being awarded funding by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority.

Sixteen projects focussing on issues including loneliness, hoarding and water safety will all benefit from the funding which has been made available under the Authority’s Stronger Safer Communities Reserve.

The schemes being supported range from an older persons befriending initiative and a falls prevention slipper swap project, to help for people with learning disabilities and the production of a virtual reality motorbike safety film.

This is the third time that local organisations have benefitted from the funding. The Fire Authority has also provided money to support the installation of sprinklers in higher-risk residential accommodation.

Last year the fire service published plans which included a commitment to work more closely with community organisations to increase the reach of its safety work.

Fire Authority Chair Cllr Linda Burgess, said: “The Authority believes that charities, community organisations and other local groups can play an important part in supporting the work of the fire service to make our communities safer and stronger. Members look forward to seeing how the money which has been allocated following a rigorous assessment process will deliver real and far-reaching benefits for local people.”

The Stronger Safer Communities Reserve is a Fire Authority scheme which reinvests money into local communities to support the fire service’s work to prevent emergencies. The money has been set aside from the Authority’s reserves.

Research carried out by social return on investment specialists found that projects delivered through both of the fund’s previous bidding rounds produced nearly £5 million worth of benefits to local people.

This time, local partners, charities and community organisations were able to bid for funding ranging from £5,000 to £100,000. There were 48 applications for funding, with the final list of 16 successful projects being decided by an assessment board. The funding allocated totals £639,000.

The full list of funded projects can be found here

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Stronger, Safer Communities Reserve Fund Round 3 funding 

Round 3 of the Stronger Safer Communities Reserve (SSCR) Fund has seen 16 projects funded by the Authority. 

For further information please click on VISIT below.

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Fire funding for South Yorkshire sprinkler schemes 

Five housing schemes across South Yorkshire will be fitted with sprinklers, thanks to Fire Authority funding.

The schemes have all benefited from money made available earlier this year from South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority's Stronger, Safer Communities Reserve Fund.

Charities and social housing organisations were invited to bid for the money which had been set aside from the Authority's reserves to support sprinkler projects on a match-funded basis.

Fire safety officers hope the schemes will encourage more housing providers to consider installing sprinklers in the homes of residents considered particularly at risk of fir

The five funded schemes are:

  • Autism Plus, Throne - a 15 bedroom residential care facility.
  • Berneslai Homes, Barnsley - six residential care homes.
  • Great Places, Rotherham - a 24 flat complex.
  • South Yorkshire Housing Association, Rotherham - five bungalows for high-dependency residents.
  • Target Housing, Rotherham - four bedroom converted care facility.

Fire Authority Chair, Cllr Linda Burgess, said:  "The Authority believes that its resources can play an important role in building safer, stronger communities and this funding is one example of how we are achieving this.  Members hope this investment will encourage other housing providers to consider installing these potentially life-saving devices in the homes of higher-risk residents".

Area Manager, Steve Helps said: "Sprinklers are a cost-effective way of making homes safer - they stop fires from spreading, put them out quickly and save lives.  We are especially concerned about those people who are most a risk from fire such as those with mobility or mental health problems, or people with dementia who may not know how to react, or be able to react quickly enough, if they hear a smoke alarm.  We play a key leadership role in helping people to better understand the benefits of sprinklers as part of our commitment to reduce the impact of fire on people, property and the environment and this funding is the best possible evidence of our commitment to that goal".

SYFR has pioneered the use of sprinklers in high risk residential settings, leading a UK first project to retrofit an automated system at the Callow Mount block of flats in Gleadless, Sheffield.  That scheme is now internationally recognised for the improved safety it offers the people living within the building.

It has also worked alongside Sheffield City Council to make more than 540 properties in the city safer by installing lifesaving sprinkler systems at Council owned flats in Gleadless Valley, Westfield, Stannington and Netherthorpe.  This project was another UK first.

The installation of sprinkler systems in new build homes is now mandatory in Wales and SYFR is actively promoting the use of this type of protection in all types of buildings to build resilience and safety into local communities.

For more information on sprinkler systems go to VISIT below.          


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New Fire and Police Station in Maltby goes live 
South Yorkshire’s only joint fire and police station has gone operational for the first time.
Firefighters have started attending 999 calls from the station in Maltby, Rotherham after work to modify the existing police station on Byford Road to accommodate fire service vehicles and staff was completed last month. The old fire station on Maltby High Street has now closed.
The project won Government Transformation Funding of £560,000 and means South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue can share running costs, enabling funding to be targeted at frontline services.
The move has shifted fire service resources around a mile closer to the east side of Rotherham, which traditionally accounts for a greater volume of emergency incidents compared to lower risk areas to the east of Maltby.
It will also improve services by making it easier for police and firefighters to share knowledge, skills and expertise when tackling common issues like anti-social behaviour and road traffic collisions. In a similar way, it will help both organisations to reach the most vulnerable members of the community
Chief Fire Officer, Jamie Courtney said: "This new facility is the first of its kind in South Yorkshire and represents the best possible physical example of our commitment to work more closely with our emergency services partners.  By working alongside each other under one roof, we think the move will benefit both organisations by improving how we work together to solve problems we both face, which can only help to improve the quality of the service we offer to local people.”

Fire Authority Chair Cllr Linda Burgess, said: “The Fire Authority has always been clear that collaboration should be about more than badges on buildings and saving money, with local people at the heart of any of the decisions we make. With this in mind, I am pleased to see the completion of the first joint police and fire station in South Yorkshire- not just as a symbol of the joint work the fire service is leading on with the police, but also because of the benefits I expect it to bring to both organisations and the community itself.”

Chief Superintendent Rob Odell, district commander for Rotherham, said: “I’ve no doubt that this joint venture will help us to provide a more coordinated service to the public, particularly on issues dealt with by both services. This provides us with an excellent opportunity to better share information and to help meet the demands of modern policing, where working alongside our partners is vital in meeting the needs of our communities.”

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner said: “The joint fire and police station at Maltby offers a number of positive opportunities for the police and fire services to work together and collaborate. This new cost-effective way of working will allow agencies to share information and work more effectively together. The building will help reduce overheads to both organisations at a time when, the taxpayers want to see their money being spent on the safety of South Yorkshire residents and not on buildings and their running costs.”

The Policing & Crime Act 2016 has placed a new, statutory duty on all three emergency services to look at opportunities to work with one another better to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

In South Yorkshire, fire crews already attend hundreds of ‘medical break-ins’ every year, where they gain access to properties where people are thought to be in need of urgent medical attention, but where ambulance service paramedics cannot get to them. This work used to be carried out by the police.

A Local Intervention and Falls Episodes (LIFE) team has been set up in Sheffield which sees fire and police staff visit hundreds of homes in the city to reduce fire risk in properties, improve security and help people who have fallen and contribute to reducing the risk of falls.

Lifewise is an interactive safety centre which is jointly run by the police and fire services and opened in 2011 to deliver education packages to more than 20,000 local people every year.

Work is also underway to improve the way the police and fire services work together in several other areas, including their community safety and prevention work

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Deputy Chief Fire Officer appointed 

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority (SYFRA) has appointed a new Deputy Chief Fire Officer following an extensive recruitment process.

Martin Blunden beat off competition from a strong field of external candidates to secure the position permanently, which he had been fulfilling on a temporary basis since January.


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