It takes a special person to give time and energy to help and support others – especially when they need it most. Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is proud to be able to say it has a team of volunteers who do just that.

On Thursday 22 July 2021, a special evening of thanks and celebration ‘A Decade of Volunteering at KFRS’, was held at Service Headquarters to mark ten years since the scheme was launched.

KFRS Chief Executive Ann Millington said: “We are so proud to have volunteers as part of the team at KFRS, and since 2011 the scheme has gone from strength-to-strength. We value each of our volunteers and the support they bring to the organisation. Their time and energy helps us to make a difference. Each volunteer brings a wide range of skills, experience and knowledge, which builds on the resources we already have. The benefits are vast but fundamentally the volunteers help us to achieve our aims in keeping people safe. By involving volunteers, we are able to respond to emerging risks, and to reach and help more people.”

KFRS Volunteers live and work in the communities across the county. KFRS provides volunteer opportunities to help people connect with others, learn new skills and gain confidence. The scheme has helped people to find routes to employment; with KFRS or in other local organisations or businesses. Volunteering improves health and wellbeing too.

Ann added: “The diversity of our volunteers brings new opinions, ideas and approaches to what we do. This helps us to adapt, stay relevant, think differently and to succeed in new ways of working. We thank each of them – we couldn’t do what we do without them.”

10-years of volunteering celebrated
The High Sherriff of Kent, Mr John Weir and KFRS’ Volunteers’ Manager, Karen Grieves

The anniversary event was made even more special and memorable with an address including words of thanks by The High Sheriff of Kent, Mr John Weir. He presented Volunteer Manager, Karen Grieves and the Volunteer Response Team with ‘The High Sheriff Award 2021’: “It was a great honour to spend the evening with excellent servants of our county and incredible role models. Over the last ten years they have selflessly given time to support Kent Fire and Rescue Service in its work to keep people safe. The event was a fantastic way to give thanks to each member of the team.

“I was moved to hear the stories of how the Volunteer Response Team (VRT) supports people who experience life-changing events like house fires. The welfare and emotional support the volunteers give to people at incidents, and support to firefighters, is something that can never be underestimated. It is a very impressive volunteer scheme; and the hard work the VRT has carried out during the pandemic – in continuing to keep their service going with a 100 percent response rate is incredible. It was a pleasure to present The High Sheriff Award to the Kent Fire and Rescue Service volunteers – deservedly so. I wish everyone at KFRS, the scheme and every volunteer a very healthy and successful future – it can only go from strength-to-strength.”

KFRS is already looking to the future and plans to enhance the scheme. KFRS Volunteer Manager, Karen Grieves said: “We have great plans for the next ten years. There is no doubting the value our volunteers bring, and to cement this we are already working towards achieving the ‘Investing in Volunteers Award’ within the next twelve months. Our volunteers tell us they personally benefit from their experience – so we want to ensure this continues. The award will help us to strengthen our reputation as a great place to volunteer and encourage others to join us. It will also help us to develop, review and strengthen our volunteer processes and procedures.”

By Ed

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