Having been born out of the devastation of the Blitz in World War II, we have worked for decades to support the health, wellbeing and happiness of the UK’s dedicated fire services community. And on 17 August, we’re celebrating our 80th anniversary.
Today, we’ve been able to develop our services hugely to meet the ever-changing needs of fire service personnel and their families.
However, every person we have supported over the past 80 years has only been helped because someone, somewhere, became a regular donor, climbed a mountain, ran a marathon, held a bake sale, organised a car wash or donated their pocket money.
So, celebrate with us this year and pat yourself on the back. We couldn’t do what we do without you. Here we look at just how far we’ve come, and where we are today…
The next era of our Charity
Having seen the transformative steps we’ve taken over the last 80 years, imagine what we can do together in the next 80?
Since developing our digital support offering, we’ve reached more people in remote areas of the UK, helped thousands of people who may not be able to access a centre with online consultations, and offered more options for fire service personnel to fit online programmes around their busy schedules.
Listening to the needs of our community, we have shifted away from being solely responsive – there to provide support during times of need – towards being a proactive and preventative organisation, equipping our beneficiaries with the skills, knowledge, and confidence they need to maintain and improve their overall wellbeing.
Sharon Bailey, our Director of Beneficiary Services, says: “In the last three years alone, we’ve developed and adapted our services more than ever before to meet the changing needs of our fire services community – and that’s something we’re incredibly proud of.
“We’ve broken down barriers which previously prevented many of our beneficiaries from easily accessing our support and we’re now focusing on spreading a proactive health and wellbeing message: you don’t have to be injured or ill to reach out to us.
“No problem is too small, we’re here to listen and help you to move forward positively with your life, whether that’s through our online health and wellbeing resources and programmes, or via a face-to-face support pathway.”
Here’s a closer look at the last three years…
- With the UK thrown into lockdown, we adapted and developed our services quickly and began offering digital consultations.
- We introduced My Fire Fighters Charity, which includes a full library of health and wellbeing content, a series of chat groups for people to join and the ability to access support faster than ever.
- We developed a Covid Recovery Programme aimed at supporting anyone with ongoing symptoms of Covid-19 with their recovery.
- We introduced an Outpatients Service for people living close to Marine Court or Harcombe House to receive support over a few hours on scheduled days.
- A residential Reset Programme at Harcombe House was launched, aiming to improve people’s resilience and mental fitness.
- We rolled out a series of Hope Programmes, which are online mental health and wellbeing programmes that participants can take part in from home, completely at their own pace.
- We marked a huge milestone in autumn 2022 as we delivered our 10,000th digital consultation – a number that continues to rise significantly today.
- We now have a Wellbeing Hub on My Fire Fighters Charity with a number of online courses and workshops available for beneficiaries to take part in. These range from shorter, bitesize programmes to longer six-week courses on a range of health and wellbeing topics.
- We’ve developed our Wellness Coaching – offering individual fire and rescue services workshops on a range of health and wellbeing topics, to suit the needs of their employees.
- We introduced a telephone befriending service, offering members of our retired community a regular telephone call to offer social support and connection.
- And our family services have continued to grow in popularity.
Celebrate 80 years with us
We’d love you to be a part of our 80th year by joining us for a fundraising event. And it’s certainly not too late to plan yours – we’d love to see them right through the year!