A organisation unique to South Yorkshire which assists those affected by fatal fires and road crashes is expected to be separated from the county’s fire service which has supported its work.
The HOPE group offers peer support to those who have experienced bereavement or witnessed a traumatic loss in fires and road crashes and was set up by volunteers 12 years ago, becoming a charity in 2016, at which point South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service offered support by funding a part time business manager to help with the group’s work.
However, the service’s ruling Fire Authority is now being asked to severe that link, providing £57,000 for a year’s transition to allow HOPE to become a free-standing organisation.
Its existing links with the fire service makes it the only organisation of its type in the country to operate that way, with its work aimed especially at hard to reach groups.
Money for the transition would come from the brigade’s Strong Safer Communities Reserve funds, a report to the authority states.
The group was established 12 years ago, offering peer support from those who have been through similar experiences of sudden and traumatic losses.
Authority members have been told that working with the fire and rescue service since 2016 has put the organisation “onto a more appropriate and professional footing” which has led to it gaining national recognition for its work.
The objective now is for the group to help improve community safety work which is now a responsibility for many public bodies, with an expanded contribution to include working with the elderly and students.
Becoming detached from the fire service for funding will allow HOPE to seek additional funding sources, while maintaining its community safety links with the organisation.