A team at the heart of coordinating fire service volunteers who supported South Yorkshire’s pandemic response have been honoured with a special award.
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s three-strong ‘volunteers cell’ oversaw the work of 200 fire service staff who volunteered to fulfil multiple requests for support from partner agencies as they strived to keep essential services running during the first stages of the pandemic.
Those tasks included making food and prescription deliveries, training to drive ambulances, fitting face masks for care staff and distributing PPE to health workers.
Now the team behind the work has been given the prestigious team award at the Cutlers’ Company Police and Fire Service annual awards in recognition of their exemplary service.
Chief Fire Officer Alex Johnson QFSM, said: “Many of the requests from partners, raised via South Yorkshire’s Local Resilience Forum, were extremely urgent, meaning that the cell had to work quickly, flexibly and often during unsociable hours to make sure the right volunteers were available to fulfil them.
“The cell also had to liaise with external partners across the country to establish safe systems of work, to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of our volunteers whilst carrying out additional duties.
“All of the work of the volunteers cell was delivered remotely, with staff using video conferencing and email to deliver this work.
“In short, we are proud of the work we did to help our communities during the pandemic, but none of it could have been delivered without the work of the small, dedicated group of people who made up our volunteers cell.”
At the same event, Watch Manager Fleur Holland QFSM won the individual award after used her role within the service’s community safety team to help coordinate the delivery of hundreds of food parcels and thousands of prescriptions to people with no other means of support.
Acutely aware of the impact the pandemic was having on the mental health younger people, she also used her role as one of the service’s youth engagement leads to organise a fundraising challenge for the service’s fire cadets.
Emergency Planning Assistant Liz Bramley and Community Safety Co-ordinator Claire Walsh were the others nominated for the individual awards.
The service’s ICT team and Covid-19 volunteers were the others nominated for the team award.