A YOUNG woman from Worcester says that volunteering with the fire service has given her confidence a huge boost.

Charly Perkins, 24, a Community Volunteer with Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, has told her story to encourage other people to do the same.

“It has been an incredible help to my public speaking,” said Charly, a part-time retail assistant from Worcester.

“If someone had asked me 18 months ago to get up and give a talk, I just could not have done it. Now, it doesn’t matter how many people there are in the room, it simply doesn’t worry me.

“It has even helped my driving – I used to stick just to the roads that I knew but now I’m not concerned about going anywhere.”

Charly’s first experience of volunteering with fire services came when she was a student in Bristol.

“I had fire warden training as part of my degree,” she said. “Then I realised that there were volunteering opportunities with Avon Fire and Rescue so I started getting involved and that continued with Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service when I came back home.”

Now Charly is an instructor with the Young Firefighters Association in Droitwich and Redditch as well as her wide variety of tasks as a volunteer.

“I do all sorts of things from acting as a casualty to be cut out of a car or a distressed home owner in various exercises to assisting in schools with the Young Citizen’s Challenge and everything in between,” she said. “I just enjoy getting out there, meeting and helping people.”

Charly has also been involved with fire prevention work and has gone out on Safe and Well visits to see exactly how they work.

“I don’t think people realise that prevention is such a big thing and how much goes on behind the scenes,” she said. “There is so much involved in a firefighter’s job but the fire service is so much more than just firefighters on the front line. Working on multi agency events, you come to realise how much preventative work goes on throughout all emergency services, regardless of whether it’s paid or voluntary, and I get to be part of that.”

Charly has no problem fitting in her volunteering with her working life and in the last year has racked up a remarkable 600 hours and more of volunteering, in addition to her work with the YFA.

“I can pick and choose the events that I want to attend,” she said. “But I really enjoy everything about being a volunteer – it’s the sort of thing that anybody of any age can be involved with.”

HWFRS is looking to recruit Community Volunteers. For details, call 0800 032 1155 or email volunteer@hwfire.org.uk