Funding, July 12, 2011, 8:27 a.m.

SAB Sponsors New Wildfire Helmets for VWS

Author: SA Breweries

The Volunteer Wildfire Services (VWS) attended a sponsorship handover ceremony at South African Breweries (SAB) in Newlands on Tuesday 12 July 2011. Read More...


The Volunteer Wildfire Services (VWS) attended a sponsorship handover ceremony at South African Breweries (SAB) in Newlands on Tuesday 12 July 2011.


SAB sponsored 32 wildfire helmets to members of the volunteer firefighting organisation. Designed specifically for wildland firefighters and made from heat-resistant thermoplastic, the Bullard Wildfire helmets will provide the volunteer fire fighters with advanced safety,functionality and comfort.


SAB first made contact with the VWS in late 2010 when they invited Ryan Heydenrych, VWS Marketing and Media director at the time, to one of their functions. SAB has since visited the VWS fire base in Newlands Forest and shown a genuine interest in the volunteers and their activities. The VWS is a section 21 NPO made up of a group of wildly enthusiastic volunteers. With members from all walks of life, the organisation is dedicated to combating the devastating wildfires that threaten the Cape’s mountains and reserves every year. With stations in both Newlands and Jonkershoek, and affiliations with Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) and Cape Nature, the VWS assists in fire suppression activities covering large tracts of land in the Cape. The members train hard during the winter months to ensure that they are in prime condition to fight wildfires during the summer months and whenever called upon.


As an NPO run entirely by volunteers, the VWS relies heavily upon the generosity of the greater community and corporate sponsors to achieve their goals. An ongoing and costly part of VWS operations is to kit existing and new members each year with the appropriate fire fighting gear and to acquire advanced equipment where possible. The fire fighter’s helmet is a hugely important part of the safety gear and for this reason SAB’s very generous donation of R15,000 was put towards the purchase of 32 specialised wildfire helmets.


It is a privilege and honour for the VWS to be recognised by SAB. Those who attended the handover to receive helmets were made up of VWS Board members, station managers and active members. The SAB team warmly welcomed the VWS and commended the volunteers for their great service that they offer the community, for their dedication to a great cause and the passion that they carry out their duties. Simon Adams, Marketing Responsibility Manager at Newlands, said “We respect that [the VWS] makes a real impact and we really appreciate what [they] do. As long as [they] continue to serve our communities, we are on board”. SAB has also expressed that this is the start of a great relationship between the two organisations and that they are going to take an ongoing interest in the VWS. The VWS members received their helmets and thanked the SAB team for this sponsorship, and the happy faces around the room were a testament to what this means to the VWS members. After the handover the VWS members and SAB team posed for photographs outside the brewery before moving into the SAB pub for snacks, refreshments and an extended opportunity to get to know each other better.


Through my interaction with Simon Adams, Hein Swart and the rest of the SAB team I have experienced that they truly deliver on the SAB Missions and Values. The two that stand out for me are:


“We benefit the local communities in which we operate”
“The calibre, passion and commitment of our people set us apart”


On behalf of all the VWS members, I would like to reiterate how appreciative we are to SAB for their support. This is more than just a handover of advanced equipment for our members; it is extremely meaningful for a local business with such stature to recognise the VWS and the work that we do. It really goes beyond a sponsorship that SAB has taken the time to understand us and get to know us, and they have committed to remain a close friend moving into the future.


Article By: Ryan Heydenrych (VWS member)


Photographs By: Emma Lambert-Porter