A GROUP of young refugee children from Syria and Africa enjoyed a special Firebreak course in a bid to help build their confidence.

The Colchester Youth Project, which was formed two-years-ago by Colchester Council and Colchester Borough Homes, organised the course with the support of Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.

Paid for with a £2,000 grant from the housing firm, the course was designed to teach the children skills like teamwork as well as helping them integrate into the Colchester community where they now live.

Participants undertake a series of challenging firefighter tasks like using powerful water hoses, wearing specialist breathing equipment and two-storey rescue operations.

Allan Webb, lead instructor, said: "It has been great to work with and alongside individuals from various cultural backgrounds and with ranging, various abilities.

"The students have shown a real desire to listen, encourage, support and work hard and outcomes of this have been plain to see.

"I do hope that from this, students will continue to show this progression back within society very much look forward to hearing how the students develop and nurture in future.”

At the end of the week-long course a special passing out ceremony was held where the youngsters showed off their new skills to their families and friends.

Mike Lilley, councillor responsible for communities, wellbeing and public safety, said: "The Firebreak course was an excellent opportunity for these young residents.

"They all rose to the challenges that the Fire Service set and enjoyed the passing out ceremony with their family and friends.

“A move to a different country can be difficult for any child, but especially so when you are a refugee.

"The course was designed to bring together this group of young people, to help build their confidence and support their integration into our borough; in turn continuing to make a Better Colchester.”

Another course, aimed at young people involved in anti-social behaviour, will take place in the autumn.