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Alarming fire inspection sparks volunteers’ mission

When a routine inspection uncovered problems with the fire alarm system at 3rd Shoreham Sea Scouts the group faced an uncertain future.

From Press releases - 7 November 2016 12:00 AM

Alarming fire safety inspection sparks volunteers' mission 2.jpg

When a routine inspection uncovered problems with the fire alarm system at 3rd Shoreham Sea Scouts the group faced an uncertain future.

With limited funds and 200 young people depending on the club’s future, they needed to update the system – or risk being shut down until it was up to scratch.

That was when Sea Scout Leader, Robert Jewiss, an expert engineer at UK Power Networks, rallied work-mates together through the company’s employee volunteering programme to install a new fire alarm system at the Les Goodbody Centre, Adur Recreation Ground.

Over the last few days (Nov 2-4) Robert, a leader with the group for 15 years, was joined by colleagues Graham Martin, Keith Ayres and Dave Wright in bringing the fire safety system up to modern standards.

The men volunteered their skills and time through UK Power Networks’ employee volunteering scheme which gives all 5,600 staff two paid days a year to volunteer or fundraise in their local community. UK Power Networks keeps the lights on across the South East, London and East of England, delivering electricity supplies to over eight million homes and businesses.

Robert said: “The centre was down to a couple of battery smoke alarms and an old-fashioned spinning bell. The fire inspector was not impressed and said we could be shut down if we didn’t put it right. A modern fire alarm system will protect the building and the people in it.

“I’m a trained electrician and fitted the new alarm system with help from friends I’ve worked with for a long time. They used their volunteering allowance, but I’d already spent mine running a scout camp so I did this during my holiday and it’s worth it.

“It’s a wonderful organisation. The kids get so much out of it and we get a lot back from them,” said Robert, “We speak with the kids about community, respect, resilience, self-reliance and we teach them sailing and sports, for a healthier lifestyle. There is no point complaining about kids hanging about on street corners if they have got nothing to do. My attitude is if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem and I’ve always preferred being part of the solution.”

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is pleased with the work that has been carried out to date and will stay in touch with the volunteers who have been working at the site.