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932 Preventing social exclusion with voluntary fire department training activities
  1. Brita Somerkoski1,
  2. Terhi Kivijärvi2,
  3. Virpi Hurula3
  1. 1National Institute for Health and Welfare Helsinki, Finland
  2. 2University of Turku, Teacher Unit, Rauma, Finland
  3. 3Voluntary Fire Brigade of Vahto, Vahto, Finland


Preventing social exclusion with voluntary fire department training activities

Brita Somerkoski, Planning Officer, National Institute of Health and Welfare

Background Social exclusion among youth is one of the major social problems in Finland. Therefore it is seen as the biggest threat to internal security. A low level of education, a lack of hobbies and a lack of sufficient skills increase the risk of becoming excluded from the labour market and from society. Moreover, inherited problems, such as transgenerational social exclusion, are seen as relatively new and worrying phenomena in Finland.

Objectives The Yli Hyvä Juttu –program is an early intervention, where at-risk children and young people are directed to participate in interesting free-time activities at a local voluntary fire department. This is done in collaboration with the local authorities, such as social, youth and educational services. The target groups are children and young people between the ages of 7 and 17, especially those who have been antisocial, lonely or in need of boundaries. A study of the possibilities of the program was carried out among the youth trainers and social workers. The presentation will show the forms of activities as well as the results of the latest outcome study of the possibilities of Yli Hyvä Juttu working model.

Results Through the voluntary fire department’s training activities, children and young people learn firefighter skills and other safety activities. Youth trainers in fire brigades are educated to meet the possible special needs of young persons. Also group dynamics such as team control and team spirit are taught to the trainers.

Conclusions Voluntary fire brigade gives hope, new goals and empowerment to the vulnerable group of young people.

  • internal security
  • social exclusion
  • multi-agency approach
  • group dynamics

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