A MixMatch challenge to break down the barriers

Pupils from two Halifax high schools went head-to-head in a sports challenge aimed at promoting better relationships between youths and public services.

Park Lane Learning Trust and Trinity Academy both entered four teams of eight students into the MixMatch School Challenge held at Mixenden Activity Centre.

Students competed in a variety of sporting challenges including orienteering, archery, indoor rock climbing, biking and fire service training challenges including a black-out pod where children, unable to see due to a black-out helmet, had to be guided by team mates whilst they wore fire service uniforms, and a water-to-bucket fire hose challenge.

Trinity Academy students were crowned overall winners after winning 2-1 in the bungee run competition.

The day was organised by West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service to promote better relations between youths and the services.

Mark Jones, Calderdale district support officer for West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue service, said: “It was a really positive event which engaged with youngsters in a fun way, whilst also getting across messages about how vital the emergency services and other partnership agencies are in their communities.”

Non-uniformed fire crews from Illingworth and Kind Cross, Halifax, and police from Illingworth and Mixenden acted as mentors to students throughout the sporting challenges.

A host of other service providers from various agencies including The Mixenden Initiative, Pennine Housing 2000, Calderdale Council Community Wardens and others were there to promote better relations between youths and service providers.

Ward link worker for Ovenden and Mixenden, Heather Stout, said: “The day was about teenagers seeing beyond the uniform of a fire fighter or police officer and breaking down barriers between the two.

“It was brilliant - the children loved it and so did the parents and the participating service providers.”

The event was sponsored by Pennine Housing 2000, Asda and West Yorkshire Police, Nestle donated confectionary.