Penrice and the Phoenix Project

This month, ten Year 10 students were handpicked to participate in the Princess Trust Phoenix Project, run by St Austell Fire Station, with the aim of building self-confidence and community spirit.

Carlos Whittle, George Bolt, Bethan Paige, Daisy Snelgrove-Chandler, Tia Mellor, Chelsi Gale, Liam, Westpfel, Lewis Hambly, Ashley Skinner and Lewis Macdonald spent the week at St Austell Fire Station with the Fire Service’s Charlie Philpott, who runs the Phoenix Project in St Austell.

The Phoenix Project, which has been going since 2002, is a leading deliverer of community engagement in Cornwall.  It utilises the Fire Service to achieve positive goals, working on raising aspirations, improving teamwork and communication and motivating students to achieve their full potential. The first meeting began with an opportunity to discuss hobbies and interests, what they’re good at, things they can work better at and what they plan for the future.

Charlie called it an ‘investment’ for the school and for the students. He said: “This project is 20% care and guidance from us, but 80% effort from the students. What we do is aim to fill their toolbox for the future.”

The week at the fire station saw the students engaging in sessions in health and safety and first aid, learning about the fire service, problem solving in teams and practicing real-life scenarios, in order to develop transferrable skills to take back to school. It ended with a ‘Passing out Parade’, where the students showed family and friends the drills and skills they had learned during the week. Deputy Mayor of St Austell, Brian Palmer, then presented the students with certificates and spoke of how impressed he was, calling it ‘the best example of a drill he has seen yet.’

Charlie said at the parade: “To achieve what they have done in such a short space of time is incredible, they are a credit to the school, their families and themselves.”

Richard Cardigan, Assistant Principal at Penrice, said: “It is been an absolutely outstanding week developing our students with their leadership skills and raising their aspirations. They should be very proud of themselves.”

The project includes further mentoring for the students over the coming weeks, to check on progress and ensure those incredible skills they have developed continue to be used.

You can see more pictures from the passing out parade in our gallery.