Local Representative champions WFS UK training and development event

Lisa Howsden is a Community Fire Risk Management Information System Administrator in the Fire Engineering Department at Cleveland Fire Brigade. She is also the new Cleveland Local Representative for Women in the Fire Service UK. 

Representatives working at a local level provide valuable support and encouragement to others, and input ideas and feedback through their regional representative. Local reps play a really important part in acting as advocates and promoting our aims and values.

In June 2019, Lisa attended the WFS 19th National Training & Development Event for the very first time. We spoke with Lisa to find out how she benefited from taking part and how that led to her volunteering to be local rep.

You attended your first training and development event this year. Can you describe the event in three words? 

Scary, Exciting, Fantastic.

What or who inspired you to attend the event? 

I heard about the event from someone who attended a few years ago and it sounded great. This year, because I was turning 50, I thought I’m going to do as much as I can, trips away with family and friends, concerts, theatre shows, training and getting to know more people.

You were the only delegate from your service. How long did it take for you to feel at home? 

Being the only one it was a bit overwhelming when I walked into the Fire Service College, it had been a long journey (over five hours) and there were so many people. Within about 10 minutes I was introduced to Joanne Henry who happened to be the local rep for my area! She made me feel so welcome.

What was your favourite workshop? 

Hard to choose as they were all great, but maybe the best which is quite relevant was the workshop on the Menopause. Something myself and my friends/colleagues will end up going through.

What would you say to those thinking about coming to next year’s event?

I really want to encourage more people from my brigade to attend. It was an amazing weekend, it gave me so much confidence, and I met so many people lovely people, some I’m keeping in touch with. The workshops were very interesting and the venue was fantastic. I even got up early to do boot camp, loved it even though I ached the next day.

Did anyone encourage you to become a rep? 

At the regional meeting on the first night, I was asked if I’d like to be the local rep for Cleveland, and I thought yes why not give it a go. I’ve been given the support from my Brigade and attended my first WFS National Executive Committee meeting last week in Birmingham at the Emergency Services Show, where I met some lovely people.  

What do you hope to achieve in the role?

I would like to promote WFS within Cleveland and get more people to attend the training and development event next year. After attending the event myself, I am now a part of Cleveland’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Forum and on the sub group for Culture.  If there are any issues raised there hopefully I can resolve them with help from WFS.