Sussex Police and Fire Service visited Hollyrood, our service in Haywards Heath for people with autism on 12th March for their very own 999 Day.

There was excitement in the windy air, with both service users and staff enjoying learning about these integral services in the community. People supported at Hollyrood talked to the police and fire crew about their jobs, asking an array of questions that had been on their minds, such as “How often do you use the flashing lights?” and “How many days a week do you work?”. They explored the inside of a police car, police van and fire engine, as well as tried on some of the uniform and equipment.

The day was an opportunity for individuals who may not have been able to attend such events in the community due to the overwhelming nature, to participate on a more personal level. It also aimed to change perceptions of what a relationship with the police and other emergency services can be, as some of the individuals at Hollyrood associate them with negative experiences. During the 999 Day, community relationships were strengthened, and both the Trust and the emergency services were able to develop an improved awareness of the other.

Lynsey Robertson, Director of Business Development and Marketing, said: “What an incredible day this has been! Here we are interacting on a positive note, building relationships with our community and raising awareness of the work we both do.”

Rachel Priestley, Service Manager, said: “Today has been brilliant. The service users have been able to access and participate in something that they would have been unable to do in the community. Thank you to the Police and Fire Service for visiting Hollyrood. The impact has been really positive - there has been sensory impact in terms of the lights and sounds, but also they have been involved by trying on uniform and getting into the vehicles. It’s been an amazing day.”

The event was a big hit and we're hoping to hold similar events across the Trust's other services.

A male service user trying on a police officer's hat
A male service user with a police van
A male service user and a fire fighter next to a fire engine
A male service user sitting in a fire engine
A male service user with a police officer trying on his hat
Two men standing next to a police van