Helping firies through welfare fund

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HELPING THE HELPERS: The members of the committee who administer the Ashburton District Volunteer Fire Brigades Welfare Fund (from left) Greg Bruce, Ian Fielder, Don Geddes, Ian Moore, Jill Tomlin and Advance Ashburton chief executive officer Carolyn Clough.
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When we need them, volunteer firefighters around Mid Canterbury are there for us. But who is there for them when they need help?

The answer to that is the Advance Ashburton Community Foundation Ashburton District Volunteer Fire Brigades’ Welfare Fund.

As International Firefighters Day approaches this Saturday, the welfare fund is calling for donations.

The welfare fund was established in 2013 as a result of several incidents where rural firefighters had been injured and there was no financial assistance available to them or their spouse.

The district council gave $10,000 to establish the welfare fund, which was originally for firefighters and their families of rural fire forces.

When rural and urban fire services merged support become available to all members and their families of the volunteer fire brigades.

Advance Ashburton Community Foundation chief executive Carolyn Clough said the welfare fund was administered by a committee of five.

It was there to help firefighters, their partners and immediate family needing assistance due to illness, disabilities or financial hardship.

Since its inception several grants have been made. The total given out is more than $40,000. ‘‘There is a very quick turn around in processing the applications and they are always open,’’ Clough said. Among committee members is Ian Moore. He said every fire station has information about applying for the welfare fund.

‘‘If firefighters or their families want to apply they can do it via their fire chief, any of the welfare fund committee or directly with Advance Ashburton,’’ Moore said.

* To give to the Advance Ashburton Community Foundation Ashburton District Volunteer Fire Brigades’ Welfare Fund phone 307-5902, email [email protected]. nz or visit Advance Ashburton on Level 2, Somerset House, 161 Burnett St, Ashburton.