Although Matt House, 29, takes the lead in organising the station’s annual Charity activities, he is adamant that without the support of other firefighters, partners and families, the events would not be as successful as they are.
Matt says: “Running a successful charity event is all about teamwork and using everyone’s skills. Yes, often one person does end up taking the lead and coordinating others, but without that huge skill bank and staff volunteering their time, these fantastic community events wouldn’t take place.”
The dedicated team of volunteers at Cambridge Fire Station have raised nearly £15,000 in just four years, solely through organising events in the local community. Thousands more has been raised through individual’s own feats including a watch completing the Three Peak Challenge and firefighters running Tunnel To Towers in New York.
“We already raise tens of thousands of pounds, but year on year we want to increase that total to enable this Charity to continue to provide the best service to our firefighters and families.”
Martin Ockenden, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue.
“We try to do at least two car washes a year, a street collection, a fire engine pull, which always goes down a storm, and other non-annual events,” Matt explains.
“For us, it’s not just about the same people getting involved time and time again. We try to encourage our support staff to take part and come and scrub a few cars on the day, and of course, partners, children and friends will often give up their Saturday to help rattle tins at events.”
Watching a charity event happen on the day is a wonderful experience in seeing everything come together, but the team at Cambridge work hard in the weeks and months leading up to the event. Firefighters will spend hours before and after their shifts canvassing local businesses for support, donations and opportunities to maximise the impact of the day. From getting free mince pies from a supermarket on the day of an engine pull (to keep the volunteers going!) right through to securing match funding from a local bank – the more of the community you involve, the more successful the event.
Martin Ockenden, who coordinates CFRS’ charity representatives, says: “The fundraising undertaken at Cambridge is phenomenal. Matt is a very humble guy and has repeatedly won our Service Fundraiser of the Year Award, but is always emphasising how much of a team effort the work is.”