Salford Lads Club has always been iconic, but its young people
are looking to the future and are turning to firefighters as role
Since the summer of 2011, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue
Service (GMFRS) crews have been consistently engaging with
teenagers at the Ordsall club which celebrates its 110th
anniversary next year.
Watch Manager Matt Keogh said: "After the riots in 2011, we
really wanted to do something regularly with the young people at
the club, because in the wider media at the time there was often
the sense that young people were to blame for the disorder across
the country when in fact that just wasn't the case.
"Salford Lads Club and the boys and girls that attend are great
young people and we knew we could work in partnership with them and
since then, both the young people and all the crews from Salford
Fire Station have been getting lots out of it.
"We've been going down to the club on a regular basis with the
fire engine, chatting with the boys and girls and getting to know
them, talking to them about fire safety, first aid and joining in
with club activities every week."
The club was founded in Ordsall in 1903 as a recreational club
for boys, and became known around the world in 1986 after it
featured on the front of The Smiths 'The Queen is Dead' album
Matt said: "For the first time, Green Watch recently invited a
Salford Lads Club group down to the start of a night shift at
Salford Fire Station and they really seemed to enjoy being on
station with us after we'd joined them at the club so many
"They joined us for the parade at the start of the shift and
were involved in checking the fire engines and we also did a couple
of hose drills with them.
"We also got them playing the parts of casualties and cut them
out of a car on the station-yard in a bid to teach them about road
Since 2011 all four watches at Salford Fire Station have been
involved in building relationships with the young people from the
Niall Armsden, a volunteer at Salford Lads Club said: "It's been
great having the firefighters come down and work with our young
people because they've really got such a lot out of it.
"It started off with the crews coming to the club and bonding
with the young people by playing football and pool with the, but
over time when relationships had been built 12 of our young people
really enjoyed their visit to Salford Fire Station.
"The visit made them think of their futures and some of them
were speaking to the firefighters about careers advice. They've all
learnt new things about fire and road safety and what GMFRS
firefighters and staff do other than put out fires.
"We get up to 300 young people using the club every week and
those that have worked with the firefighters all look up to them
and a couple of them have even said they now want to work for GMFRS
when they're older."
Perhaps the most famous youth group in the country, Salford Lads
Club offers the young people of Salford the chance to take part in
team building activities like football, table tennis and snooker
and teaches discipline through boxing training and jujitsu.
Assistant Chief Fire Officer Peter O'Reilly said: "The work
firefighters from Salford Fire Station are doing with Salford Lads
Club is absolutely fantastic because it just shows how GMFRS and
our crews and stations are right at the heart of communities.
"GMFRS' purpose is to protect and improve the quality of life of
people in Greater Manchester and working in partnership with the
club does that and supplements the young people's programmes we run
"In the last two years GMFRS have successfully provided more
than 1,000 young people who have come through our schemes in fire
stations with almost 3,000 academic qualifications and initiatives
like this help create opportunities for young people to help shape
them as valuable members of society.
"I went to a youth group myself as a young boy growing up and it
was that that kept me on the straight and narrow so I felt
passionately after the riots that regular visits and a partnership
between GMFRS and Salford Lads Club would benefit the community of
To find out more about the programmes GMFRS provide for young
people go to /community_work.aspx