UFBA secures funding for additional volunteer advocacy and support services
Following constructive and collaborative meetings between the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Board, myself and UFBA Stakeholder Manager Ceara Owen-Perry, the Board has confirmed increased funding for the 2017-2018 year for UFBA core activities and events along with specific Year One Volunteer Initiatives.
This increase reflects the higher level of advocacy and support services the UFBA is committed to providing to our members.
A key strategic goal of the UFBA and FRFANZ, our MOU partners, is to secure sustainable funding. The detailed, professional business case we made to the Board to gain additional funding focuses on the contribution we make to the development and wellbeing of fire and emergency services personnel, in particular volunteers.
UFBA/FRFANZ provides a vehicle to enable Fire and Emergency NZ to support our members through a range of activities and obligations, including competitions, learning opportunities, and supporting brigade functions through leadership, financial, and compliance training.
Equally important is the platform we provide to our members to enable a coordinated single and powerful voice on important issues.
The additional funding we have secured recognises the importance of the UFBA and FRFANZ as the acknowledged bodies representing the interests of our members, particularly in advocacy and supporting volunteers.
A growing membership
Our core work for 2018 reflects growth in our membership, primarily from our relationship with Forest and Rural Fire Association (FRFANZ). Our work with FRFANZ builds on our membership base of 539 brigades and voluntary rural fire forces (12,000 firefighters).
At the 2017 UFBA Annual Conference the UFBA is putting forward a remit to a merge with FRFANZ. The merger would increase membership to 673 brigades and voluntary rural fire forces, rural fire contractors and forest managers incorporating all 14,000 firefighters serving in New Zealand.
Because of this growth, our funding needs are greater than in previous years.
Committed to supporting our membership
Since its inception 139 years ago, the UFBA has been committed to enabling local brigades to respond to local emergencies within their communities through the development of effective capability-building functions.
This is about recognising brigade requirements as a means of addressing and building community resilience.
A major part of our work programme for the 2017-2018 financial year links to the strategic priorities set out in the Fire and Emergency NZ Phase Two mandate for integration.
The UFBA will deliver:
- Independent Advocacy and Support Services for any dispute, complaint or conflict, free of charge
- Membership consultation and communication, particularly by moving to a database tool that will integrate with our communications channels, so that we can measure our membership requirements and provide meaningful two-way communications to our members
- Accident Assurance Scheme—now available to all Fire and Emergency NZ volunteers (whether or not they are members of the UFBA)
- Benevolent Fund assistance for firefighters in need
- Leadership and Governance Workshops
- Secretaries and Treasurers Workshops
- NZFBI training and field trips
- UFBA Conference
- 10 Challenges
- Service Honours
Additional Year One Activities
Our secured funding also covers specific projects for Approved Year One Initiatives in the 2017-2018 year:
- An additional Leadership and Governance Workshop—bringing the total to four workshops
- An Advocacy Adviser to provide support to our expanded membership pool that now includes rural staff and volunteers, increased involvement in mediation processes and training of volunteer supporters to work within the Volunteer Issues Process
- Four Leading Wellbeing in Brigades Workshops—we invested considerable resource in the 2016-2017 year on developing this new workshop which focuses on the wellbeing of brigade members. This course will cover how to have tough conversations, how to promote a culture of openness and acceptance to wellbeing issues and where to find the tools and the support for leaders and their teams when wellbeing concerns are raised. We are running a pilot course in mid-October for selected Leadership and Governance Workshop graduates to gain their input. Following the pilot, we will open attendance to our wider membership.
- Financial management and training for brigades.
Safe sustainable communities
The UFBA’s proactive and extensive communications and outreach strategy enables us to listen to our members’ views and ideas to unite the voices of firefighters throughout New Zealand. By representing our members’ interests, concerns, and successes to key partners we are well placed to promote, value and support effective volunteering and contribute toward building safe sustainable communities.
We look forward to working with members throughout the year as we deliver our extensive advocacy and support services programme.
29 September 2017
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