Survey reveals astonishing story of UK’s big-hearted key workers on Public Service Day.
More than four fifths of those working in the fire service have undertaken volunteer work or raised money to help others during the pandemic, a survey released on Public Service Day has revealed.
The nation’s firefighters have been some of the hardest working during one of the most difficult periods in the country’s history, helping to save lives.
But remarkably, they have still found time to give something back to society, according to a national survey commissioned by public sector and civil service membership club Boundless.
It’s a revelation that makes Public Service Day on Wednesday 23 June all the more poignant.
Darren Milton at Boundless said: “If we didn’t know already just how special the people who work in the fire service are, these survey results really underline it.
“Not only have they been working tirelessly to save lives in such difficult times but they are also the heart and soul of the communities they serve, often volunteering for roles to help others or raising money for good causes.
“Now it is time, on Public Service Day, for us all to say ‘thank you’ and let them know we really do appreciate everything they do.”
More than 83 per cent per cent of those working in the fire service have volunteered or raised money during the pandemic, but not for the first time.
In fact, those polled said they have raised on average £14,873 per person during the course of their career for charity – more than any other profession.
Some of the activities supported by firefighters and administrators over the last 15 months include:
- Delivering meals or items to the underprivileged or vulnerable people, 26 per cent
- Donating items, 17 per cent
- Producing and sharing important information on Covid-19, 13 per cent
- Organising fundraising events, 13 per cent
- Organising virtual quiz nights, 13 per cent
- Making or donating PPE, 9 per cent
- Taking part in sponsored walks or runs, 9 per cent
One shining example was London firefighter Izzy Ryan, who volunteered to work with paramedics during the first wave of Covid-19, swapping her fire truck at Paddington Fire Station for an ambulance.
“I just wanted to do whatever I could,” says Izzy. “But one of the hardest things was seeing people saying goodbye to their loved ones for possibly the last time, because they couldn’t go to hospital with them.”
Another great example was Tom Taylor who founded FrontLine Coffee. With every sale of their artisan coffee beans, they donate all profits entirely to charity – and last year they launched the Bevan Blend, in support of NHS Charities Together.
“It raised over £4,000,” says Tom, whose day job is firefighting for the Devon and Somerset Fire Service. “We also donate coffee straight to key workers, sending out free supplies to hospitals, police stations and ambulance stations all over the country.”
Darren Milton at Boundless said: “What Izzy, Tom and people like them did during the pandemic was amazing, and it shows how important our public sector and civil service workers are in society.
“It makes Public Service Day all the more important this year.”
Public Service Day, officially launched by the United Nations as long ago as 2003, has barely been recognised in the UK until two years ago, when Boundless began campaigning for it to be celebrated more publicly.
Now its profile is growing, with backing from MPs on all sides of the House and increasing recognition across the country.
Rt Hon Ben Bradshaw, MP for Exeter, commented: "Our public sector workers have always been vital to our communities, but the past year has been a vivid reminder of just how valuable they are.
“Public Service Day is an opportunity to say thank you to those across the sector who have had an impact on our lives, and I'm delighted to hear that Exeter firefighter, Tom Taylor, is among those being recognised this year, not only for his work with Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue, but also for the thousands of pounds he has raised for emergency service and health charities."
There is still work to do, however, to thank those who have given so much.
A worrying 58 per cent of people working in public service, and 30 per cent in the fire service, say they don’t feel appreciated enough by the public
People across the country can help change that by getting behind Public Service Day.
For more information, inspirational stories, and tips on how to get involved, please visit www.boundless.co.uk/publicserviceday by CSMA and engage on social media with @bemoreboundless using the hashtags #extraordinarypeople and #PublicServiceDay.