On behalf of the Trustees and Staff at Scottish Fire and Rescue’s Family Support Trust, I would like to wish you and your family a very Happy Christmas and safe 2021. I also wanted to write a personal message of sincere thanks to all beneficiaries, members and supporters of our Fire Service Charity and provide you with an update on FST activities.
For many of us, 2020 and the COVID 19 pandemic, has been the most unusual year imaginable. It’s hard to believe when we review our very successful 2019 activities, as we did at our recent AGM, that 2020 would be so vastly different for Family Support Trust and everyone within the Fire Service family.
As we look forward to Christmas, we are aware of the hardships COVID 19 has brought to our local communities and so many people globally. We are very proud of our Fire Service colleagues and applaud all key workers who have been working on the front line and facing the dangers of COVID 19, on a daily basis.
We also remember and offer our sincere condolences to those bereaved families and friends who have lost a loved one, over this difficult year.
The impact of the COVID 19 pandemic has given FST considerable challenges, but it has also provided us with some new opportunities. Unfortunately, we’ve had to close our respite facilities, cancel our guest bookings and all face to face fundraising and events. We took the difficult decision, in May, to place our Fundraising Officers, Jackie and Stevie, on the Government furlough scheme as we recognised and had to adapt to FST’s reduced income and financial constraints.
On a positive note, we’ve found new ways of working using virtual technology, like skype and zoom and from our kitchens and bedrooms we’ve worked hard to deliver FST services, as far as possible.
We’ve continued to provide essential grants including our Hardship and Bereavement grants to those in need. Alongside this, information and guidance has been provided to individuals seeking wider support services. We’re delighted that we managed to deliver StepTember 20, our month long, online health & fitness challenge – which attracted 253 participants, raised people’s spirits all over Scotland and an amazing £11,000 for FST funds.
We see more elderly people, now, who are comfortable and familiar with virtual technology and this opens new doors too, for FST in 2021, to keep in contact with this group of beneficiaries in their own homes.
We are hugely grateful for all donations and support. We rely heavily on the continued generosity of our regular givers – the SFRS personnel and retired Fire Service members, who contribute from their wages and pensions each month, to help ensure that we have the essential funds ready to provide assistance to those in need.
Whilst the great news of the new COVID vaccines provides us all with hope and a way out of the pandemic, we know that there are still considerable challenges ahead for 2021.
I can however offer you assurance that our Charity’s Trustees and Staff team will strive to continue to provide support and assistance to Fire Service personnel and their families, in times of need. To conclude, please accept our warm thanks for your ongoing support and fantastic generosity. Our best wishes to you and yours for the festive season and New Year ahead.
Please stay safe & well.