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Working for the Service and being a parent can work really well together, Area Manager Clive Stanbrook shares his story

“When I returned to work the support and understanding of everyone at work was really great, just what a new father needed at the time.”

What was your role in the Service when your daughter was born?

Gracie was born in June 2011, at which point I was a Station Manager working in Executive Support.

Did you take paternity leave? How did the Service support you in taking leave and returning to work?

Yes, I took 2 weeks paternity leave and then supplemented it with another 2 weeks annual leave afterwards.

Having a child is an anxious enough time anyway, so the Service’s support in organising the paternity leave, and then the support of the annual leave was excellent and extremely welcomed. When I returned to work the support and understanding of everyone was really great, just what a new father needed.

How have you managed childcare and work since then?

As with all jobs, it’s important to have a good support network around you to make sure childcare is never something that effects work.

The predictable nature and variety of shifts available helped hugely when planning any sort of childcare - also the availability of short-term leave has been very helpful when the inevitable short notice childcare issues arrive.

Has there been any benefits to balancing working for the Service and having a child? ​​​​​​​

I think there are real benefits in working for the Service when being a parent. All shifts are predictable a very long time in advance, so planning can easily be done.

This is the same with annual leave, which can also be arranged well in advance when needed.

Also, due to the community feels of the Fire and Rescue Service, it lends itself to helping each other out with shifts should there be something at very short notice, which works very well as there are lots of others in exactly the same situation.

Do you have any worries about working for the Service and having a child? ​​​​​​​

No, not in the slightest. As I said the shifts are very predictable a year in advance so childcare can easily be arranged. I’ve never been in the position where I’ve had to drag Gracie along to a fire call!

What does your daughter think to you working for the Service? ​​​​​​​

She thinks it’s great!

She’s always very interested in some of the incidents I’ve been to, which in turn has made her more aware of dangers around the home and at school. I don’t think she would ever admit this, but I think she loves that I work for the Fire Service, although she is very quick to tell her friends that I’m not a real firefighter anymore but used to be when I worked on a fire engine.

Has progressing through roles in the Service had any impact on your family life?

Whenever I’ve considered a change of role or promotion in the Fire Service the first thing I’ve considered is how will it affect Gracie. As I’ve progressed, I’ve made sure that time with Gracie isn’t compromised at all, and in fact as Gracie has got older and been more understanding of my job and what it entails, this has got a lot easier.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about being a dad and working for the Service?

Working for the Fire Service and being a parent are both very rewarding and work really well together.

It’s great to be in a job that Gracie is very proud of and shows interest in, and I can honestly say that working shifts hasn’t affected anything to do with Gracie at all - in fact quite the opposite with how family friendly the environment is.

Everyone in the Fire Service is very like-minded when it comes to work life balance, which helps greatly.