Coinciding with our Annual General Meeting, we have now published our Impact Report for 2020/21.
The first year of our 2020-25 Strategic Plan, 2020/21 began with the Charity’s centres forced to temporarily close due to pandemic restrictions, before ending with a huge expansion of our digital services, a host of specific resources created to support beneficiaries and, subsequently, even more people helped by our expert teams.
Chief Executive Dr Jill Tolfrey says of the year: “2020/21 will live long in all our memories as the year in which our world changed. On a personal level, coronavirus impacted every one of us, transforming the way we lived and the way we worked, limiting our movements and restricting our freedoms. For The Fire Fighters Charity, meanwhile, it had far reaching consequences for those we support, those who work for us and those who work so hard to fundraise for us.
“As I look back on the year, however, I do so not with sadness at opportunities lost, but with a sense of accomplishment and a renewed respect for our beneficiaries, supporters and employees. Covid-19 forced us to fundamentally change the way we operated as a business, presenting us with a set of challenges that we had not anticipated or planned for. But far from shutting up shop and battening down the hatches, you will see how we effectively and speedily adapted and innovated in order to continue to support those in need, and to mitigate the impact on fundraising as much as we could.”
Throughout the year we have seen the Charity’s teams continuously come up with new ideas to support our beneficiaries, as the pandemic fast-tracked our plans to introduce more digital support pathways across our community.
Practitioners began offering video-based consultations, we built up a huge library of helpful online resources, we made our popular face-to-face Living Well Groups digital during lockdowns and our fundraising teams did all they could to offset the inescapable downturn in funds, coming up with creative ways for our supporters to fundraise for us.
We encouraged our supporters to find innovative ways of supporting us amid social distancing restrictions through our Fire Family Challenge while the London Marathon went virtual and our recycling and merchandising adapted to meet the changing times. Meanwhile, we were once again overwhelmed by the support of our corporate partners during this challenging time.
Finally, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Peter Davies, pays tribute to “the stalwart leadership and contribution that long standing Trustee and former Chair of the Board of Trustees, Paul Fuller, made to The Fire Fighters Charity”, following his untimely death in June 2021, before looking at the year ahead.