Letter To All our Beneficiaries and Supporters
27 March 2020

Dear friends,

COVID-19 update

We are all facing an unprecedented situation following the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the Government’s recommendations regarding home working and social distancing.  Here at The Fire Fighters Charity, the wholly necessary restrictions to protect the most vulnerable in our society have had a significant effect on our ability to provide our services and operate as normal.

The impact of COVID-19 on our opportunities for traditional fundraising are also substantial and will, we estimate, see our regular income fall by around £1m over the next three months. This loss of income has played a significant role in the decisions we have had to make regarding our employees.

In reviewing the support offered through the Government’s recent Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme support package, we have taken the very difficult decision to place a number of employees who are in particular roles, on a period of furlough leave.

This has not been an easy decision and I and my Senior Leadership Team colleagues have sought to balance the need to provide some services with the organisational need for financial support. I am sorry that employees are being put in this position, but the situation is unprecedented and requires unprecedented action.

However, to you all, I remind you that we are still open for business, albeit working with a substantially reduced number of employees. Our services are being provided differently, but will still be delivered with the professionalism and quality you have come to expect of us. We will also, as always, seek to provide the tailored support that you need, when you need it.

The 0800 389 8820 access line is taking calls. Callers will speak with a practitioner who will be able to offer advice and support from the following services:

  • For those seeking mental health support:
    • Access Togetherall or the SHOUT helpline for those in crisis. We will, where appropriate signpost to other organisations for support.
    • Regularly updated advice and information via our website, including articles, interviews and multimedia content offering support with issues such as anxiety and stress during periods of social isolation and distancing.
  • For those seeking physical health support:
    • A telephone or remote consultation, advice and exercise prescription via digital exercise programme
    • Regularly updated advice and information via our website, including articles, interviews and multimedia content offering support with issues such as maintaining your physical fitness during periods of social isolation and distancing.
  • For those seeking welfare support:
    • Contact with a welfare case worker, appropriate assessment and solution development
    • Regularly updated advice and information via our website, including articles, interviews and multimedia content, including a reference library for relevant online information regarding coronavirus and its implications, from our recommended and trusted sources.
  • For those seeking social contact:
    • Referral to the Communities Development Lead who is establishing a contact support system

Please note:

  • We are currently unable to take applications for residential services.
  • Our Customer Care team are responding to general calls and enquiries via our Head Office telephone number 01256 366566 or via email customercare@firefighterscharity.org.uk

As we move through this difficult period, our available services will develop further.

As I said in my letter last week, thank you, your ongoing support and commitment to our Charity, is truly appreciated.  With your continued help and support, we will work through this challenging period and emerge refreshed, with new skills, innovations and new approaches to supporting the UK’s fire services community.

Keep safe, keep well.

Kind regards

Jill Tolfrey CEO.

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