Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) are committed to protecting and supporting vulnerable people including children, young people and adults. The Service not only recognises, and responds to, the risk from fire, road traffic collisions and other life threatening scenarios but across a broader range of themes associated with those who may be at risk from harm.

The Service recognises the significant role it can play in partnership with other agencies and works with the adult and children’s’ safeguarding boards for Cheshire West and Chester, Cheshire East, Halton and Warrington.

The Service supports people by offering the following services:

  • Offer and complete home fire safety visits to reduce the risk from fire and identify other sources of vulnerability for referral to partner agencies
  • Work with other agencies to support the victims of domestic abuse
  • Offer advice on arson prevention
  • Liaise with Police wherever a hate-crime is suspected of being committed, or information is received that a hate-crime may be about to be committed

In accordance with its legal responsibilities, partnership arrangements and data sharing protocols it shares information to assist action by other agencies where the safeguarding of the vulnerable person is outside the scope and capabilities of the Service.

The Athena Programme | Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service

The Challenge

Due to restructuring of senior management posts, CFRS appointed a new Designated Safeguarding Lead and Deputy in June 2020 (Prevention Manager and Prevention and Protection team).

In March 2020 the whole of the UK become subject to social distancing measurements due the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. CFRS had suspended all face to face training and were looking for virtual face to face online training.

Both delegates based in the same Head Quarters building but had to abide by social distancing rules within the workplace. Both had access to separate IT systems (laptops) to enable delivery to be Covid-19 secure.

Both delegates required refresher training for level 1 and 2 (Safeguarding children and adults) and a Designated Safeguarding Officer training session.  The training sessions had to work around existing work commitments and be delivered within a short time frame (July 2020).


From evaluations –

“I liked everything. The two trainers were excellent. Their extensive knowledge of the subject matter brought the subject to life. It didn’t feel like training at times I thoroughly enjoyed it”. 
– Lee McGarity

“Like the Level 1 and Level 2 courses before it, the DSO course has given me so much more awareness and understanding from a much wider perspective.  My role as a DSO has been clearly defined and I understand what is expected of me.
I have absolutely loved the knowledge and interaction with the instructors, on all of the sessions we have undertaken. Both Lisa and Glenys have been incredibly passionate and influential and have certainly delivered all of the sessions in a fantastic way.  It was brilliant to be able to learn from their experiences and knowledge of the safeguarding arena and they were both always willing and encouraging of my questions and queries.  A massive thanks to all at Athena for supporting our training”.
– Steve McCormick

The Athena Solution

Athena had already been successfully delivering virtual face to face online training sessions pre Covid-19 pandemic restrictions. We were already prepared for remote delivery that met and was compatible with the requirements of the CFRS IT system.

A programme of delivery was proposed over 3 weeks, starting with level 1 then level 2 and finally the DSO session. 

A blended approach to training delivery was offered providing the delegates with:

  • The experience and knowledge of two different trainers
  • Bespoke training materials including case studies
  • Creative exercises i.e. problem solving and quizzes
  • Reflective practice opportunities
  • Training handouts
  • Secure virtual training platform

The Outcome

Planning Phase
The three remote sessions were written and designed to incorporate current CFRS Safeguarding Policies and Procedures. The training content mirrored CFRS safeguarding structure and reporting processes as well as CFRS’s unique interface with its local community through its Prevention and Protection team. Detailed instructions were provided to delegates on the virtual delivery arrangements as well as guidance on how to prepare for a remote training session.

Delivery Phase
Three separate sessions were scheduled through Google Meet invitations within a three-week period.  Remote delivery connectivity was consistent, punctual and secure and Google Meets provided a low-tech approach to confidential and stress free sessions.

Training delivery was informative, probing and fun and allowed significant time for delegates to ask questions and reflect on previous safeguarding practice. Knowledge checks were inserted during all three sessions to assure trainers of delegates learning and competence levels.

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