Published Date: 24 Jan 2020
On behalf of the NSW Rural Fire Service, the NSW RFS Donations Trust, and our volunteers, thank you to everyone who has donated financially to recognise the incredible work done by our volunteers.
The level of support for our volunteers has been overwhelming both locally and internationally. There has been lots of big names lending their support - but also many businesses, community groups, schools, mums, dads and kids choosing to contribute.
We know that people want to know how the money will be spent. We take the responsibility of community donations very seriously and we want to make sure the money is put to good use.
The NSW RFS Brigades and Donations Trust has a specific purpose and people have donated for this intent – to support volunteer brigades with equipment, training and resources relating to their emergency service role. Funds must and will be used for this purpose.
We’re establishing a $10 million fund for our volunteer brigades
These donations can make an immediate impact for our volunteers. We’re pleased to say we’ll be establishing a $10 million fund for our volunteer brigades to tap into.
Our brigades will be able to apply for funding for items they need like equipment, training or improved facilities. We’re working to establish this process and will be in touch with our brigades on how to access these funds shortly.
We’ll work with our members to identify where donations can help the most
Given the scale of donations, we think it’s important that our members have a say in how the funds are spent. So we’ll be consulting with our volunteer brigades across NSW to canvass their ideas.
Through the NSW RFS and our Donations Trust, we’ve identified four key areas to focus on. These are:
- Rebuilding – taking immediate action to rebuild and replenish, including the establishment of the $10 million fund for volunteer brigades, and providing emergency funding for brigade items which have been damaged or destroyed.
- Supporting – enhancing and extending our support of our members including volunteer welfare and their mental health, and consideration of a dedicated memorial for fallen volunteer firefighters.
- Equipping – ensuring our brigades are equipped to protect the community, property and the environment, including improving technology and connectivity.
- Improving – improving service delivery for members and the community such as education and training, emergency response and processes for volunteers.
These are a starting point and we’re looking forward to consulting with our volunteers on meaningful initiatives that will make a difference for our brigades and the community.
While donated funds may be used to accelerate or supplement existing programs, we want to make it clear that donation money won’t be used to replace funding that is normally provided by Government or usual funding sources. This is about delivering money to where it’s most wanted and delivers the best value for our members.
Importantly, we’re keen to support local communities by spending locally wherever possible – whether it be with local shops, services or trades. So we’ll be encouraging everyone to think local and spend local where possible.
We are still working through the details of some donations, including large online campaigns. Some of these involve complex issues and everyone is working hard to ensure the money goes where it was intended. Once these issues are worked through, we’ll have a better idea of how much money is available and what kinds of initiatives can be carried out.
Thank you to everyone who continues to show their support to the NSW RFS and our volunteers.
The support has been remarkable and we would encourage you to keep supporting organisations which are delivering services to bush fire affected areas across NSW.
The recovery process has only just started and your ongoing support of communities, businesses and groups will be needed well into the future.
Shane Fitzsimmons AFSM
On behalf of the NSW Rural Fire Service and the NSW RFS Brigades and Donations Trust.