Adapting to change: United Fire Brigades’ Association

Firefighters nationwide have joined forces for an event the Venues Wellington team had to swiftly move from face-to-face to online

The United Fire Brigades’ Association represents and provides services to more than 690 brigades and more than 14,000 workers around the country.

Having brought brigades together for the past 140 years, the UFBA’s latest event – an AGM - proved a challenge for its events manager Julia Costa, thanks to the ever-changing Covid climate.

“I run a designated United Fire Brigades’ events team which risk manages every aspect of the organising process,” explains Julia.

“Because our members are firefighters, we have additional needs and requirements to ensure that we are not putting New Zealand at risk when we have large gatherings of first responders in one location at a time of pandemic.”

That meant changing the AGM from a face-to-face occasion to an online one within a short timeframe.

With help from Venues Wellington, Julia’s team instead settled on a TV studio-type event to beam out an online AGM to registered delegates via Zoom.

“We used the Zoom platform as it is easily accessible and has all the features we needed for voting and interactive participation,” says Julia.

And Venues Wellington was instrumental in its success.

“From the moment of booking to the follow up at the end – the Venues Wellington team, including its preferred suppliers, were the best,” Julia says.

The entire process went smoothly, she says.

“Security plans, all relevant health and safety and events documents are provided to the VW team, which then converts those into their booking system to make it seamless.

“Nothing was a problem and we felt very looked after – the VW team did everything in its power to minimise financial impact when we had to change from face-to-face to online.”

I love working with the team, the customer service really is second-to-none

Julia Costa, Events Manager

In today’s climate the VW team is constantly adapting to ensure events like UFBA’s can go ahead albeit in-person or online.

In UFBA’s case Julia was delighted all plans were implemented exactly as anticipated.

And she holds the VW team in such high regard she plans to rebook in future.

“I have made the decision to bring our large conferences to Wellington for the next two years with Venues Wellington.

“I love working with the team, the customer service really is second-to-none.”

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