21April2024

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Volunteers who are staff

Eildon Fire Brigade Captain Nicki Lund has been a volunteer with CFA for 14 years. CFA plays an enormous part in her life as she’s also CFA’s Acting Manager Learning and Development in North East Region.

Nicki first joined the brigade when she was a regular visitor to Eildon at weekends before she moved to the area.

“My husband and I had a holiday place up at Eildon and came up regularly to have a weekend away with friends and to go water skiing,” Nicki said. “We had met a few members of Eildon brigade and wanted to be involved and assist in the community any way we could. We subsequently moved to Eildon a couple of years later.”

Nicki has had numerous roles in the brigade and is also the deputy group officer training for the Alexandra Group.

Nicki’s history in the IT and training space allows her to bring valuable experience to CFA and the training department.

“Prior to working at CFA, I was employed as an ICT manager and trainer. Before becoming captain my role in Eildon brigade was training officer, as well as helping CFA as a volunteer trainer and assessor. All these positions have proven invaluable working in the Learning and Development team. While attending meetings I’m able to assist both staff and volunteers to work through the best solutions for everyone.”

Nicki attends many meetings as both a volunteer and a CFA staff member.

“I attend numerous meetings and am able to keep members well informed. Being both a staff member and a volunteer, I see both sides which gives me a greater perspective and understanding. I’m able to explain processes and offer suggestions,” Nicki said.

“As a volunteer it has given me a better understanding of how processes work at the district office. As a staff member my experience has been vital in allowing me to be more supportive of the volunteers.”

Nicki also turns out to incidents when she can. “My role requires me to travel throughout North East Region, so I’m not always close to home when the pager goes off. But when I’m at home, and able to, I turn out with my brigade.”

Nicki has also been deployed as both a volunteer and in her work capacity as a logistics officer.

“CFA does play a big part in my life. Anything that I do, regardless of what it is, I give 110 per cent,” Nicki said. “However, I always ensure that I make time for myself and have something outside of CFA too.

“I love the outdoors. I have two red heeler dogs and three big, beautiful Friesian horses – and no, they are not cows. So I spend a lot of time riding my horses and walking my dogs.

“I thoroughly enjoy working and volunteering for CFA and am incredibly proud of the work we do.”

 

Belinda Gillespie has worked for CFA for 12 years and has been a volunteer with Bayswater Fire Brigade for more than four.

“It’s a privilege to be part of CFA. I enjoy both working and volunteering,” Belinda Gillespie said. She joined CFA straight from high school as a trainee at CFA Headquarters. This allowed her to complete a Certificate in Business with CFA as her host employer.

Belinda’s current role in CFA is volunteer recognition and retention consultant, but she’s had a range of roles over the years.

“I started volunteering for CFA because I wanted to get involved in my community. I had recently moved into the CFA area and knew I wanted to help. I was also working in the recruitment area and wanted to understand the process better.”

Volunteering at Bayswater brigade has allowed Belinda to use her CFA knowledge to her advantage.

“Having knowledge of CFA processes is extremely helpful in my position as brigade secretary,” Belinda said. “Working for CFA has allowed me to gain experience with CFA people, departments and systems which I can use and share with my brigade.”

Having been secretary, Junior leader and a firefighter, Belinda has a wide range of experience. She has also supported the brigade through fundraising and social and community events.

Last year Belinda  responded to around 50 call-outs and was also deployed to East Gippsland to support the bushfire crisis.

“CFA was really supportive with my recent deployment to East Gippsland. Having flexible work hours allowed me to be deployed,” Belinda said. “It’s important to keep your employer informed. I made sure I clearly communicated any deployment updates with my manager so they were aware of my situation.

“Having experiences like these has also benefited my team at work. I’m currently the only volunteer in our team and it’s been great to share the volunteer knowledge I have with my colleagues.”

CFA plays a huge role in Belinda’s life.

“I spend a lot of time either working or volunteering for CFA. It has given me great opportunities in life. I’m also lucky to have made amazing friends through CFA.”

Pictured (left to right) Eildon Captain Nicki Lund and Bayswater members Belinda Gillespie and Stacey Sorrell. 

This article has been republished from CFA's Brigade Maqazine. 


About VFBV: VFBV is established under the Country Fire Authority Act and is the peak body for CFA Volunteers in Victoria. VFBV works tirelessly to represent, advocate and support CFA volunteers to the CFA Board and management, governments, ministers, members of parliament, councils, instrumentalities, business and the public. Our vision is for Strong Volunteerism, Embraced to Build Community Resilience for a Safer Victoria.

 
This article is part of our series celebrating women in CFA for International Women's Day.

 

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CFA Volunteers are the unpaid professionals of our Emergency Services. VFBV is their united voice, and speaks on behalf of Victoria's 60,000 CFA Volunteers.

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