I write this month’s newsletter with mixed feelings. Incredibly proud of what we have achieved this year as the Volunteers Association, particularly with the number of scholarships and grants we have been able to provide, the introduction of the Charter and the strength of the Welfare Fund and the support it can offer our members.
I am proud of the operational dedication I have seen time and time again from our members, responding to all things from building collapses, storm damage, animal rescues, flood rescues, community first responder and road-crash rescue- not to mention the myriad of other roles we perform to support other agencies.
I am however saddened by the current state of affairs with regards to the culture within some areas of the Service. Allegations of bullying, harassment and intimidation have been made across all levels of the Service and I do want to make it known that the Volunteers Association does not tolerate this behaviour- from anyone.
If anyone feels they have been exposed to this type of behaviour you can always approach your Association for support, and remember the words of our Acting Commissioner, Mr Smith- the standard you walk past is the standard you allow.
On a happier note, there were a number of awards nights for the presentation of scholarships and grants, and I look forward to seeing the results of these over the coming months.
The new Volunteers Association structure was also brought in at the AGM and there is more information on this below.
Stay safe in the lead up to Christmas and I hope you take time to enjoy the social side of the season!!
Annual General Meeting
The Association held its Annual General Meeting on the first weekend in November.
During the weekend we spent a day doing the “My 5 Awareness” training to give us some insights in how to work with people that may be in distress and how to refer them to services that could assist.
We also agreed to provide Paddy Platypus Dolls to all Road Crash and Community First Response Units so they can be used as trauma dolls. These will be sent out in the coming months.
At the conclusion of the meeting our new constitution came into effect which creates a new structure. This structure is aimed at improving consultation and communication across the organisation.
There are 17 Area Representatives. These roughly align to the SES Regions. To assist in workloads the principle of a 5:1 management ratio has been used.
In most cases three District Coordinators will assist each Area Representative. They will be responsible for passage of information to their Units which have been grouped together in fives. A Unit Coordinator position has been formally established to work with the District Coordinators to improve information flow.
The new structure also establishes the “Volunteers Council” which is made up of the Board of Directors and Area Representatives. They discuss volunteer matters and make recommendations to the Board of Directors for consideration.
These new positions will be established by election which will commence soon. All holders of positions will be invited to attend the Volunteers Association Conference being held in Sydney on Saturday 8 October 2016.
Member benefits card
In the coming weeks, just in time for Christmas, we will launch our new Member Benefits Program.
You will be receiving a pack in the mail that will contain a member benefits card that will provide a range of financial and lifestyle benefits through Member Advantage, our partner in delivering and facilitating these benefits.
This new program brings you a host of great benefits designed to make your life a little easier and a lot more enjoyable including:
- Great discounts on hotels worldwide
- Competitive foreign exchange rates across 48 currencies
- Savings on over 4,500 experiences and gifts including discounted gift vouchers for major retailers, movie tickets, magazines, dining, car rental and much more.
Keep an eye on our Facebook page, email and snail mail for more information as the program roles out.
Festive Season Sale
Christmas is just around the corner and to help celebrate we are providing a 15% discount on all merchandise. To make a purchase call the office on 1300 073 782 or visit http://store.nswsesva.org.au/app/shop
National SES Volunteers Association
On the 13/14 November the newly established National SES Volunteers Association meet to discuss matters of interest. A primary objective is to get each State and Territory Volunteers Association up and running. We discussed strategy and direction, had guest speakers talk about funding streams and legal matters and visited an SES Unit.
- Volunteers Association Conference 8 October 2016