Title changes hands as youngsters take on the challenge

20150708_103250The MixMatch School Challenge was held for its second year at Mixenden Activity Centre on Wednesday 8 July and saw reigning champions, Trinity Academy, determined to defend the trophy as they went head to head with Park Lane Learning Trust.

Over 60 youngsters, aged between 12 and 15-years-old, took part in a variety of fun and challenging activities at the event organised by Ovenden and Mixenden Initiative and were joined by West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS), West Yorkshire Police (WYP) and Calderdale Council’s Children and Young People’s Services.

The challenges included orienteering, a ‘bikeability’ obstacle course, sponge and stocks, a water bucket challenge involving WYFRS hose reels, an assault course and after a great competition and undeterred by the changing weather, Park Lane Learning Trust evened the playing field for next year after being hailed the champions for 2015.

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Karina Gonzalez, WYFRS Calderdale District Prevention Assistant, said:

“The aim of these sorts of events is to foster a respect for the emergency services and to show kids that the fire service is a great organisation they should feel an admiration for.

“Ultimately these events are aimed at reducing arson and anti-social behaviour by engaging with youngsters at an early stage before they get involved in this kind of activity.”

In the build up to the MixMatch Challenge, a number of young people from Mixenden have attended various events and sessions on crimes and the consequences to educate them and help to break down barriers between themselves and uniformed services.

Community Worker Heather Stout from Ovenden and Mixenden Initiative said:

“As well as today’s fantastic event young people have been learning about the consequences of crime, visited the Houses of Parliament and since the sessions began we’ve seen a dramatic reduction in fires and antisocial behaviour in Mixenden.”

The sessions have included educating the young people on the consequences of car crime, what prison is really like and the consequences of other crimes; such as bullying, car theft, Anti Social Behaviour and more.

Chloe Sullivan aged 16 gave her view on a session about deliberate fires, saying:

“This was the best session out of the whole lot. The staff who visited were really friendly and they were all interacting with us, which was good because we got to see it from different points of view.

As a result I would never start a fire with friends to show off because I feel strongly about the way people treat the firemen and I think it is utterly disgraceful. I would like to thank them for coming to talk to us and we really appreciate them for doing their job!”

Due to their willingness and the commitment shown since the start of the MixMatch Scheme, the youngsters have found themselves being rewarded for their efforts through activities such as entry to the Birkenshaw Bonfire & Firework Extravaganza back in November 2014, a paint-ball trip, a London visit to see the houses of parliament and of course the 2015 MixMatch Challenge.

Services the who took part and supported the 2015 MixMatch Challenge were The Mixenden Initiative, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, West Yorkshire Police, Mixenden Activity Centre, Pennine Housing, CMBC Community Wardens, Chris Mitchell from Calderdale Community Coaching Trust (CCCT), Morrisons who donated refreshments and Halifax Young Farmers supplied The Tug of War Rope for the final.

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