Hauraki Herald

Volunteeri­ng is a great way of life

- HANNAH DICKSON ❚ This article was commission­ed in response to a commercial partnershi­p. We have produced it independen­tly, to the same standards applied to the rest of our journalism.

Nearly 12,000 people volunteer for Fire and Emergency New Zealand, keeping people and property safe all over the country.

It’s an impressive number, but equally impressive is the number of employers who support those volunteers when they need to respond to an emergency during working hours.

Hauraki PlainsMoto­rs Ltd in Ngatea could be two people down at any one time with both business owner Miles Shelley and his son Adam members of the Ngatea Volunteer Fire Brigade. It can be challengin­g to attend a fire or accident when the business is busy, especially when you’re selfemploy­ed, but Shelley says its all part of being involved in a community where everyone does their bit to help each other. That’s why Hauraki Plains Motors is one of the organisati­ons all around that country that have been part of our Proud Employer campaign. Stuff partnered with Fire and Emergency to recognise local businesses and organisati­ons who support this important work with the Proud Employer mark, which acknowledg­es the role they play in keeping communitie­s safe by allowing their staff to respond to an incident while they’re also

rostered on at work.

The Proud Employer mark is a distinctiv­e stylised flame that recognises the collaborat­ion between the country’s volunteer firefighte­rs and their employers, which helps keep New Zealanders and their property safe during emergencie­s.

Shelley says the mark is displayed in the front window of the business and is included in his email signature.

‘‘I use it because I’m proud to be a volunteer and to support others who volunteer. I get thanks and comments about it all the time. That’s what we do it for – because we want to support the community.’’ Shelley says the campaign helped raise the profile of volunteers and the employers who support them. He says the Ngatea Brigade – along with the region’s neighbouri­ng brigades in Morrinsvil­le andMatamat­a – are fortunate to have local support. ‘‘We’ve got a good range of age groups, right from older ones to middle-aged volunteers and the young 17-year-olds coming through. With a lot of brigades in smaller areas you see a lot of family groups with sons and daughters coming along when they get old enough.’’ That means recruitmen­t is seldom an issue. Increasing­ly, employers are aware that while employing volunteers requires flexibilit­y so they can attend an emergency, it brings significan­t value to both the community and a business that relies on the support of locals. ‘‘It may not be the same in bigger communitie­s, but in the smaller onesmost of the employers are very supportive.’’

 ?? ?? Ngatea station officer Adam Shelley, Hauraki Plains Motors co-owner Diane Shelley and chief fire officer and Hauraki Plains Motors co-owner Miles Shelley.
Ngatea station officer Adam Shelley, Hauraki Plains Motors co-owner Diane Shelley and chief fire officer and Hauraki Plains Motors co-owner Miles Shelley.
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