Our very own volunteers
This week is National Volunteer Week and time to recognise not only the efforts of our dedicated community volunteers, but also the dedication and commitment given by ECFRS' own staff to the cause.
June 1-7 is a time to celebrate the huge contribution volunteers make. Among our staff we have volunteers who are upholding the law, looking after young people at risk, guiding brownies and even teaching young people who are all at sea.
Director of Finance Mike Clayton volunteers as Principal and Senior Youth Instructor of the Royal Harwich Yacht Club. Mike has sailed for a long time but got involved as a volunteer after his children joined a sailing group which inspired him to become qualified as a dinghy instructor. Seeing young sailors develop their skills and achieve so much has driven him to carry on as a volunteer. He said: “The best part of volunteering is during a race, win or lose all of the children are so supportive and encouraging of each other, it makes a great atmosphere.”
Laura Bayley works as a Volunteer Coordinator at ECFRS and is also a volunteer herself, as a Special Constable for the City of London Police. This role involves patrolling a beat and policing London’s many major events such as the London Marathon. What Laura most enjoys as a Special Constable is interacting with the public where she tries to promote a friendly attitude of the police by having her picture taken with people.
Learning and Development Manager Claire Budgen is otherwise known as Scops Owl when she volunteers her time to lead 14th Colchester Brownies. She started as a parent helper when her own two girls joined Brownies. They’ve grown up and moved on to Girl Guides now but Claire still faithfully gives her time every week to help other young girls develop their confidence and become upstanding citizens.
Manager of Executive Support Linda Boar and Operations & Risk Data Information Officer Claire Couch volunteer at a different kind of girls’ group. The Girls Group in Witham is for vulnerable young girls who may lack a nurturing family environment or have difficulty at school. By listening to the girls’ problems and offering their support, Linda and Claire help to offer the stability that these girls, many of whom are in care, lack in their home lives. At the group the girls receive drug and alcohol awareness talks and sex education, and Linda and Claire have used their ECFRS connections to organise special firefighting activities to teach the girls the value of teamwork and show them what they can achieve if they try. What drives them to volunteer at the group is seeing girls grow up to pass their GCSEs and even move on to college, which is a long way from what may have been if it wasn’t for The Girls Group and the selfless volunteers.
The Service is currently recruiting volunteers. More information can be found on the Service website at www.essexfire.gov.uk/volunteering