Publishing its Strategic Plan for 2017-20, the Charity has responded to an increase in demand for its Psychological Therapy services – as well as to recent research which found that 85% of fire and rescue staff and volunteers have experienced poor mental health*. With the support of the fire and rescue community, the Charity is pledging to increase online, telephone-based and centre-based psychological support services, thereby making access to support easier and more timely, working with beneficiaries to develop the tools to encourage emotional resilience.
Other aspirations within the new plan include improved access to advice, information and support through the use of new technology including web-based resources, tele-rehabilitation and the establishment of a dynamic online community. The Charity wants to help beneficiaries to keep in touch, easily accessing advice, guidance and support as necessary to keep active and healthy.
“We know that we can do more to support our beneficiaries providing we have the income required. We cannot do this without help from across the fire and rescue community.”
Dr Jill Tolfrey
Strong, healthy and connected communities will be enhanced further, with the provision of an on and offline contact service that combines traditional communication channels with a strong volunteer network of home visitors. Aiming to improve connectedness and reduce social isolation, the Charity is keen to ensure that its beneficiaries feel part of a connected community, supporting healthy living and encouraging new behaviours and lifestyle choices.
Other aspirations outlined in the downloadable document include enhanced physical activity and rehabilitation programmes, with new residential short stay health and fitness programmes for individuals and couples to promote understanding about diet, nutrition, exercise and keeping active.
Speaking at the launch of its Strategic Plan, Chief Executive of The Fire Fighters Charity, Dr Jill Tolfrey, said: “The aspirations set out in the new Strategic Plan are in response to evidence showing that mental health and musculoskeletal injuries are the main reasons for sickness absence, and a loss of connectedness in communities is well known to lead to poor health and wellbeing. We know that we can do more to support our beneficiaries providing we have the income required. We cannot do this without help from across the fire and rescue community.
“This Strategic Plan sees us focussing on mental health, but also on ensuring that we use new technologies, together with the expertise of our employees and volunteers, to create strong, healthy communities amongst our beneficiaries. By doing so, The Fire Fighters Charity will be able to support many more people over the next three years, bringing them together and equipping them with the tools they need to support themselves.”