YOUNG people with Down’s Syndrome are developing their skills with Swindon’s firefighters this week.

A group of 16 people, aged from 12 to 24 and all members of the Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group, are currently spending the week with Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service to experience a basic fire and rescue training course.

Known as Salamander, the programme encourages participants to work as a team, while building up confidence and self-esteem.

It involves firefighting skills with hose, pumping appliances and hydrants; abseiling; ladder climbing; search and rescue; casualty care; road traffic collision rescue skills; and water rescue.

On Friday, the group will put on a display of their new-found skills for family, friends and senior Fire & Rescue Service officers.

Watch Manager Mark Evans, who is organising the course, said this was the third time Salamander had been run for people with Down’s Syndrome in Wiltshire.

He said: “The two previous courses we’ve run with Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group have been incredibly successful for the young people involved, but they were also really moving for the instructors.

“We always enjoy seeing the participants blossom as the week goes on, but the changes we see with these young people are just amazing.”

He added: “Salamander is usually aimed at young people who need a steer in life, and we use the sessions to highlight the consequences of certain behaviours.

“With the Down’s Synd-rome programme, we focus on self-esteem and teamwork, allowing the young people to learn new skills and then work with others to achieve their aims.”

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