CHARLES GRAHAM - At long last: aid for fire victims

WHAT a great idea to have a service related to the Fire Brigade which offers help and support to those whose lives are turned upside down by a serious blaze or other emergency.

Wigan is one of the first places in the country to pilot such a concept and a search has been launched to find volunteers.

Of course it is not something extra that taxpayers could expect to pay for in these straitened times, but it strikes me that an important compassion niche is finally being filled.

The local Victim Support and Witness Service does a terrific job helping those who have fallen prey to criminals and the families of murder victims.

But who looks after those despairing people whose house has been accidentally burned down and they have nowhere to go and don’t know what to do next about sorting out their mess?

Well in future locally it will be the Post-Incident Team.

This group of volunteers, set up by Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, will help those who find their lives disrupted by an emergency, give them support to clean up their homes and cope with the devastating aftermath.

Wigan was chosen to pilot the scheme, along with Bolton and Manchester, because of the high concentration of folk saying they would be volunteers at the time the scheme was first being suggested – meaning that those involved are most likely to be helping people in their own communities.

That in itself says something welcome about local folk.

I hope this project really takes off.