Release date: 5 February 2021
A fire station manager has turned the humble hoodie into a way of raising thousands of pounds for charity.
Station Manager Phil Maynard is West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s Charity Champion for The Fire Fighters Charity and had the idea of selling hoodies with UK fire services’ badges on them to fire and rescue service staff.
The idea has taken off so well that he has processed more than 1250 orders in just six months. His entrepreneurial spirit has seen him raise more than £6,000 for The Fire Fighters Charity already.
Back in the summer, he set up Helping Hoodies, a charitable enterprise making hoodies for fire and rescue service personnel, with all proceeds going to The Fire Fighters Charity.
The hoodies, which are offered in a range of colours, feature the service’s badge embroidered on the front, and Fire & Rescue printed on the back.
He began by testing the water with firefighters in West Sussex, and the orders quickly came rolling in. Realising there was likely to be a similar appetite in other fire and rescue services up and down the country, Phil began approaching other services to offer them their own hoodies, all while raising money for the charity.
He has now begun making hoodies for more than 20 other fire and rescue services. While the hoodies are only intended for fire and rescue service personnel at present, there are plans to create an online store for the wider public in the near future too.
Phil said: “Like all charities, The Fire Fighters Charity has really suffered during lockdown, with almost all fundraising activities being put on hold. I wanted to find a way to continue to be able to offer them support, and creating hoodies seemed like a good way of encouraging people to support the cause. Not only do they get a high quality hoodie to wear themselves, but they are also helping the lifechanging work of the charity at the same time, which is win, win as far as I am concerned!”
Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer, said: “Throughout 2020, Phil was spurring all of our staff on to come up with different ways to support The Fire Fighters Charity, and they took it in their stride. From sponsored ladder climbs to 12 hours of fitness workouts – we even had a team of our firefighters cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats in aid of The Fire Fighters Charity.
“As if supporting those ventures himself wasn’t exhausting enough, he came up with a great way of his own to support the charity – and the success of this idea speaks volumes for just how popular it has become. We are all incredibly proud of the unwavering support Phil has shown the charity, and wish him all the best with its continued success into 2021.”
Louise Furneaux, Community, Corporate and Events Fundraiser at The Fire Fighters Charity, said: “On behalf of The Firefighters Charity, I am so delighted to be able to celebrate Phil’s success with the Helping Hoodies idea. Phil has raised more than £6,000 for the charity and that figure is rising by the day.
“A tiny idea we discussed in the early summer has grown into a huge ongoing achievement, that links so many fire and rescue services together in such a positive way. Well Done to you Phil! I would like to thank him for being brave and making such wonderful fundraising happen. I am looking forward to the next amazing idea!”