Bill’s blog - New year, new opportunities and continued support

  Posted on 10th January 2019 by Nick Cottrell in UFBA blog, UFBA News

Welcome to 2019 and happy new year to you all.

Kia ora koutou. We know the ‘holidays’ don’t actually mean a holiday for most people in our sector. So I want to take this moment to acknowledge each of you for your continued commitment and efforts keeping people safe over the busy holiday period
As we head into 2019 I want to update you all on what will be the priorities for us at the UFBA.

Take part, get involved

We’ll continue with our business as usual core functions such as our challenge events and workshops. I really can’t encourage you enough to give these a try if you’ve never been involved. They are not just good fun but also a rewarding way of meeting other brigade members and sharpening your fitness and skills. While some teams work for months to train there’s nothing stopping you and your team just giving it a go. Dates for each event can be found online or follow our Facebook page for updates.

We’ve also got our final Leadership & Governance workshop for the 2018-19 financial year in April until we agree  dates for the second half of 2019 – we only ever get positive words about these courses delivered by expert facilitator Damien D’Cruz so don’t miss your chance to gain invaluable learnings. For the nearly 300 graduates of this workshop you still have four dates to complete the follow up ‘Leading Psychological Wellbeing’ workshop which arms you with invaluable life skills to support your brigade members.

It’s important to note that when signing up to these events and workshops we cover your accommodation and travel costs. We, and our funders FENZ, know that it’s important to invest in the workforce, and especially those of you volunteering your time to the service, and this is part of our way of giving something back.

We’ll be relying on Fire and Emergency to provide new funding from the middle of this year to ensure we can continue to deliver these benefits. So if you ever feel you’ve gained something of note during our workshops or challenge events please do let us know – your feedback really is important to us!

Here for you

It’s important to remind you that we’re here for your service honours awards and medals. While worn with your FENZ uniform these are actually UFBA medals, steeped in a rich history and tradition, and we take what they represent very seriously –- your time and energy! Don’t forget to allow a good three months when ordering your medals as these are still handcrafted in New Zealand (they’re the real deal and not shipped in bulk from overseas!).

Finally, our individual advocacy and support services are here to ensure you can be well supported to resolve conflict and disputes within your brigade. We can help try to overcome issues within your brigade before they need to be taken down the formal FENZ route. We treat each issue with the utmost of professionalism and confidentiality (where necessary) and have recently grown our team with our new Advocacy and Support Advisor Megan. Last year we supported 60 individuals to remain active in their service – something that’s crucially important not just to them but also their community. Don’t suffer in silence – give us a call if you need support to address any conflict or disputes in your brigades and fire forces.

Looking forward to change

All the above have been recognised as “core pillars’ of the emerging association from our feedback gained from the roadshows last year. This year will be an important one as we continue the momentum and work to fine tune our purpose and values as we look to formalise the merger with FRFANZ.

We’ll be progressing our work on the Youth Cadet Scheme, something of great interest to our Minister Tracey Martin and to FENZ. We’re also in talks with some members from the North about how we can further support psychological and mental wellbeing to ensure that going to a counsellor for mental health issues becomes as normal as going to the doctors when you have physical pain.

Finally we have an ask – could you please encourage your colleagues and brigade members to register on our site so we can keep them in the loop. Your personal email works far better as it is much more readily accessible to you meaning we can always keep in touch.

Ngā mihi o te tau hou

Bill Butzbach, UFBA CEO

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