To all our supporters and stakeholders,

As we approach Christmas and the New Year, I’d like to take this opportunity to reflect on all that has passed over the last 12 months.

Of course, this has been a difficult year for us all, both personally and professionally. However, while it is easy to write 2020 off as a year to forget on so many levels, I am actually pleased to say that, for our Charity as a whole, there is plenty to be positive about as the year draws to a close. In October the Trustee Board signed off our new 2020-2025 Strategic Plan, which went on to be well received at our Annual General Meeting and is already bearing fruit, with progress being made in key areas, despite the enforced restrictions brought about by the pandemic.

Furthermore, while we have not been able to support beneficiaries with a residential stay for the majority of the year, we have supported over 1,000 people through our digital platform with online and telephone counselling and physical therapy. Our welfare team, meanwhile, has continued to support beneficiaries with their social needs. So far from being shutdown by Covid-19, we have diversified and innovated to ensure that our services continue, while committing to re-establishing our residential support as soon as it is safe for us to do so.

Whilst fundraising events have not been able to take place, we have also seen amazing innovation and ingenuity from you, our loyal and dedicated supporters. This has resulted in new ways of raising income for the Charity and once again reaffirmed to us all here just how incredible our donors and supporters are in finding ways to raise money despite being locked down for large parts of the year. This has meant that, whilst we have lost income this year and will likely do so next year as this pandemic rolls on, we have – with the approval of the Board of Trustees – still been able to progress with aspects of the Strategic Plan, ensuring that we are best place to move forward into 2021 and beyond.

The aspirations in our new plan are exciting and will take us into a new dimension, building on what we do so well and providing support that is more easily accessible and more widely available. By 2025 we want to be well on our way to being recognised as the fire community’s ‘go to’ place for mental, physical and social health support. With you behind us, meanwhile, I know that we can all work together to ensure that this plan delivers something quite amazing.

On behalf of everyone at The Fire Fighters Charity, a heartfelt thank-you for everything you have done and continue to do to support us. Somehow this never seems enough, but without your support, we could not do our part to support the UK fire services community.

However you are celebrating, have a happy and safe festive season.

All the very best,

Dr Jill Tolfrey