Hertfordshire’s hardworking and dedicated Prince’s Trust team has been awarded the highest possible rating for the fourth year running.

The trust’s Annual Quality Review (AQR) praised Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s (HFRS’s) Prince’s Trust team leaders and assistants who are supported by full-time volunteers from Hertfordshire Police.

The team was applauded for “continuing to grow as a delivery partner” and being always ready to open in new locations, expanding their reach to 13 teams across Hertfordshire and supporting over 1,000 young people aged 11-30, who are unemployed or struggling at school and at risk of exclusion.

The team were also commended in the audit report for being ‘outstanding’ in the areas of leadership and management, programme quality and delivery, and personal development, behaviour and welfare.

Many of the young people helped by this vital programme are in, or leaving care, facing issues such as homelessness or mental health problems, or have been in trouble with the law.

Cllr Terry Hone, Hertfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety said: “I am delighted that for the fourth year running the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service team and their colleagues from Hertfordshire Police have been awarded the highest possible grade of ‘outstanding’.

“This is a fantastic result considering the current climate. Although the period spans between April 2019 and March 2020, the January cohort had to make significant changes to the programme and were the first in the country to undertake their ‘passout’ via Zoom. Congratulations to the team for embracing technology and continuing to support our young people in difficult times.”

Katy Bowen, HFRS’s Prince’s Trust Manager, said: “The Prince’s Trust team is a fantastic programme and during my three-year employment I have witnessed first-hand our staff deliver a first-class programme, always putting the focus of the young person at the centre of all we do.”

George Martin OBE, Fire & Rescue Service National Liaison Officer, said: “The Prince’s Trust and the Fire and Rescue Service share many common objectives which impact on the communities we serve. Our work together is guided by the values of social responsibility and inclusiveness.

“Hertfordshire FRS are a brilliant, enthusiastic supporter of the partnership between The trust and the service. Most importantly the service and the staff who deliver the Team programme have made many life-changing and life-saving interventions to the young people of Hertfordshire. Thanks A Million for your fantastic support!”

Chief Superintendent Geoff Camp from Hertfordshire Constabulary said: “It is great that this project and those who dedicate their time to delivering it have yet again been recognised for their hard work.

“This scheme makes a real difference to the lives of young people, many of whom are facing their own personal struggles. It gives them the skills and confidence to set about applying for jobs and in some cases diverts individuals from criminal activity and sets them back on the right path.

“Our police volunteers find being a part of this project massively rewarding as they can see the impact it has on young people’s lives.

“Thank you and well done to all those who play a part in delivering the programme.”