Benevolent Fund

Benevolent Fund pic from CC
Financial support for brigade members and their families suffering times of significant financial hardship

UFBA Benevolent Fund Update 07/03/2023:

Following Cyclone Gabrielle, some Fire Brigade families in Hawkes Bay, Wairarapa, Tairawhiti, and Auckland have lost homes, businesses, personal belongings, and irreplaceable memories.

The UFBA Benevolent Fund has had people on the ground in these areas since the cyclone hit.  They have been working with brigades and FENZ management to ensure our people receive financial assistance where required.  To date, we have received a large number of applications for help, and provided over $100,000 of assistance through grants and grocery vouchers.  Countdown Supermarkets have kindly donated $7,000 worth of vouchers, which we will distribute to those most in need in the coming weeks.

We have also received $11,000 in donations for Cyclone Gabrielle relief and have received enquiries from brigades wanting to donate to the Benevolent Fund for this purpose. If you would like to make a donation, these can be made directly to the UFBA Benevolent Fund using “Cyclone” as the reference: 02-0500-0594888-000

The UFBA Benevolent Fund provides assistance to brigade members and their families who are going through tough times financially, or who have suffered misfortune in their lives. Some recent examples of where we've stepped in:

  • Funds for extra travel or accommodation for family members following a severe injury or illness
  • Provision of grocery vouchers to ensure there is food on the table for families facing unexpected job losses
  • Accommodation, food and clothing needed immediately after a house fire

There are two kinds of support available right now – a general Benevolent Fund financial grant or support for those impacted by Covid-19 to ensure there is ‘food on the table’ - you can read more about the Special Covid-19 Fund here. This last year, the UFBA Benevolent Fund gave over $100,000 in aid to brigade members and their families.

How do I get support?

Anyone in a UFBA member brigade – whether career, volunteer, airport, industry, or defence – can be a recipient.  However, an application must be made on behalf of the recipient by the Officer-in-Charge or Chief Fire Officer.  We cannot accept applications from the intended recipient.

How to apply for assistance from the UFBA Benevolent Fund

Things to consider

  • The Fund does not accept applications from possible recipients, nor retrospectively for an event that has already taken place.
  • The process can happen in as little as one working day where there is an extreme need.
  • In the application, be clear around what has happened and what challenges are being faced e.g., expenses associated with serious illness. Does the brigade member have the financial resources to cope with what has happened?  Is there any other assistance available e.g., from government departments, insurance policies, savings etc.  The level of support given will vary depending on the circumstances.
  • The UFBA Chief Executive Officer may ask for more details before circulating the application to the Benevolent Fund Trustees for consideration.
  • The Trustees forward their recommendations to the Chairman of the Benevolent Fund, who makes the final decision.
  • The UFBA will let the OIC/CFO know the outcome of their application.
  • Approved payments are made directly to the family.  The Benevolent Fund does not give to fundraising websites such as Givealittle.

Who manages the Fund?

Details of all applications are kept strictly confidential to respect individuals' privacy. Each application is assessed by the Benevolent Fund's Board of Trustees (below) and administrated by our Membership Support Co-ordinator.

  • Chairman Alan Burgess MNZM, UFBA Past President, CFO Ashburton VFB
  • Trustee Graeme Booth MNZM, UFBA Past President, CFO Laingholm VFB
  • Trustee Bryan Styles QSM, UFBA Past President, CFO Carterton VFB
  • Trustee Amber Hollis, UFBA Past President, Rural Crew Leader Dunstan VFB
  • Trustee Ross Ditmer QSM, UFBA Past President, Life Honorary Member Rangiora VFB
  • Ex-Officio Member George Verry
  • CEO of the UFBA (Secretary) 
  • President of the UFBA
  • Vice President of the UFBA

Should a member need assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact the UFBA office,” says Alan. “It’s a credit to the brigades who recognise members in dire need and act quickly in contacting the UFBA family for assistance.

How is it funded?

Brigades contribute $8 per member per annum to the Fund.  This Fund is carefully invested in an ethically managed portfolio of global investments. 

The UFBA Benevolent Fund is a registered charity under the Charities Act 2005 no. CC33712.

Making a difference - brigade members looking out for each other

The testimonials below show how the UFBA Benevolent Fund makes a difference to the lives of members in need.

“I am so overwhelmed with the kindness from UFBA. This will make a huge difference to us allowing me to stay with my daughter at a very important time in her life. When receiving your email I became emotional that this is being done for us, this means so much!! There is not enough words to say how thankful we are.”

”I had a member of our brigade that fell ill and required emergency surgery with a long and stressful recovery period. They had exhausted all sources of income and support, and their bills continued to accumulate with no way to pay them. I was very concerned so I made a phone call to the UFBA and spoke in full confidence about the situation. I was blown away about how willing to help they are and it really made me feel as if we were all part of a big family. The funding that our member received was so important and removed all the stress about bills and allowed them to focus on family and recovery. I urge anyone out there that needs help to get in touch with the UFBA and reach out.”

For further information, please contact UFBA Membership Support Coordinator Jane Davie by phone on 0274 428 655 or email Jane