At the start of Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June), Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service (HIWFRS) has praised the efforts of all those who have volunteered during the Covid-19 pandemic.
More than 100 volunteers currently play a pivotal role in helping HIWFRS to enhance the services delivered to communities.
Volunteers of all ages, from a mixture of backgrounds, contribute countless hours supporting a range of activities from community events to Fire Cadet and Prince’s Trust programmes.
And many HIWFRS colleagues have also given up their own time to work as vaccinators or volunteered to help in the fight against Covid-19 by working alongside the NHS.
HIWFRS Volunteer Co-ordinator Lee Joss said:
“Volunteers’ Week is a great opportunity for us to give thanks to our valued team of volunteers. They dedicate so much time and effort to the service and help us to better support and protect members of our community.”
Despite all volunteer activities initially being suspended at the start of the pandemic, there have been several initiatives where volunteers have played a crucial role in helping the fire service to support and protect communities during this challenging time.
Volunteers helped to deliver thousands of Safe and Well referral postcards to more than 40 vaccination sites across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. The postcards promoted the Service’s free Safe and Well home fire safety visits to those who were eligible. Safe and Well visits are designed to offer additional support, tailored to each individual’s needs, health and lifestyle choices.
This initiative generated more than 700 additional Safe and Well referrals, meaning the Service has been able to support more members of the community who are most vulnerable to the risk of fire.
Vaccinations were delivered to more than 80 rough sleepers in Portsmouth as part of a partnership between HIWFRS, Portsmouth City Council and Brunel Primary Care Network. HIWFRS’ Community Contact Point vehicle was used to support this initiative and one of our dedicated volunteers, Graham Urwin, drove the vehicle to key spots across the city as well as the Hope House Hostel.
“It was a pleasure to support this fantastic community initiative which was a real team effort. This stands out as a highlight for me because this project gave an immediate feeling of making a real difference to people’s lives.
“I would say to anyone thinking of volunteering that this is a rewarding activity and a great opportunity to give something valuable back to the community.”
Firefighters and support staff from across the Service went the extra mile during the pandemic, volunteering to support health colleagues and protect the community in a number of additional ways.
More than 20 firefighters and support staff have been working as vaccinators as part of the national response effort. A total of 27 firefighters put themselves forward to join doctors and nurses at intensive care units (ICUs) across Hampshire while others were deployed to drive ambulances.