Fundraiser Wanted

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Fundraiser Wanted

Serve On is searching for a new part-time Fundraising Manager to join our fantastic team.

The successful applicant must me passionate and driven and able to use their fundraising skills to maximise the charity’s income and growth.

Job description below.

Remuneration will be based on skills and experience.

The role is home based.

Closing date for applications: Tuesday 1st May

Please send your CV and covering letter to laura.harding@serveon.org.uk

If you would like to have an informal discussion about the opportunity please contact fiona.ball@serveon.org.uk

 

The role:

Purpose: to provide expert leadership (strategy, execution, mobilisation of all available resources) to Serve On’s fundraising activities.

Key Activities:

1. Support the continued development of a fundraising strategy & gain Board approval for it. Strategy to include: targets, priority actions to execute the plan, clarity over roles & responsibilities, costs, milestones.

2. Lead & personally drive the raising of funds from the agreed targets & other key stakeholders:

 High net worth individuals (relationship management & gifts/volunteering)

 Corporate sponsors (relationship management & gifts/volunteering)

 Corporate customers for our products & services eg training (supporting production of bid/tender documents with appropriate collateral)

 Charitable trusts & foundations (identifying prospects, building relationships, writing bid/grant requests & document  Government funds & agencies (identifying targets, coordinating relationships and bid documents)

 Partner relationships; ensuring these are aligned with our strategy (fundraising and otherwise)  Promotiona levents (fundraising dinners etc)

3. Help evolve the marketing & communication strategy & plan covering: the website; social media; document management and quality assurance. Ensuring “one version of the truth and maximum positive coverage in targeted media. Own the communication material.

4. To organise fundraising events in support of the fundraising activity.

5. To manage CRM and ensure that the database of donors, ambassadors are kept up to date with all activities.

6. To support and attend activities and fundraising by others.

Person Profile:

 Committed to the aims & values of Serve On

 Experienced in broad range of fundraising

 Strong track record of raising funds for previous organisations

 High energy; self-motivated; self-starter but collaborative

 Strong team player

 Excellent relationship skills

 Excellent oral & written communication skills; familiar with writing bid/tender documents

 Good project management, organisation, & budget management skills

 Resilience & good sense of humour

Terms & Conditions:

 Pay, benefits, location, hours etc - To be discussed with candidates

 Reward will be linked to performance in the role

Reports to: The Chairman

 

 

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Spring Update

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Spring Update

The Spring update has gone out to supporters of Serve On with some information for those who don't know about the charity and an update on our activities.

You can read it here:

 

WHO WE ARE:

Serve On is a non-profit humanitarian response charity that saves lives when natural disasters strike, but we don’t wait for catastrophes to happen before we rescue people.

Our work constantly transforms lives, including those of our members, as we build resilience in people and in communities, at home and across the world.

We are relatively small – with fewer than 200 members – but we punch well above our weight in the aid we can offer because of the remarkable pool of talent among our wonderful volunteers and their extreme dedication – last year they donated an incredible 16,535 hours of their time!  

With your support, we can continue to excel and reach even more communities who need us in times of crisis.

We have remarkable stories to tell from our first few years and, with your help, we’ll have more good news to spread.

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OUR PEOPLE:

We are what our members make us and they are from all backgrounds and all walks of life, ranging from ex-military to serving and former emergency services personnel to office workers and tradesmen and women.

Membership is open to all but what unites our volunteers is a desire to save and to transform lives, to lead and to serve, to develop themselves while making a difference to others. They are ordinary people wanting to belong to something extraordinary.

*Pete Dunning typifies the spirit of our volunteers. The ex-Royal Marine lost both legs in an IED blast in Afghanistan and the initial battle to save him was captured by a TV documentary team, but his real fight began once he left hospital and struggled for a purpose to his irrevocably-changed life. He found it at Serve On where he not only passed the tough training to join our International Response Team but is now an ambassador and a driving force for the charity.

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 *Laura Harding ran two businesses and still found time to volunteer with her local lifeboat crew but damage to her spine during childbirth eight years ago has left her in constant pain and unable to carry on her work or her life-saving duties. Her discomfort, however, has never dimmed her desire to serve and now she runs the administration for our charity.

WHAT WE DO:

International Response Team:

The highly-trained search and rescue volunteers in our International Response Team (IRT) are ready 24 hours a day to drop everything and head anywhere in the world to offer their expertise and life-saving skills. Their combined experience covers 20 years of disasters and 22 international deployments, including India in 2001, Pakistan in 2005, Haiti in 2010 and the Caribbean in 2017.

Our small team can deploy from our Salisbury HQ within hours and be on the ground carrying out rescue work immediately on landing, while bigger teams are still assembling their resources.

*In September 2017, the devastating Hurricane Irma ripped through the Caribbean, tearing apart homes and livelihoods. Within 24 hours, Serve On’s volunteers were on their way to the Islands of Tortola and Virgin Gorda co-ordinating the relief effort by making areas safe and clearing debris, providing thousands of litres of safe drinking water and setting up vital communications.  A small team of Serve On volunteers will be returning to install an Island-wide communications system to help with daily communications and put islanders in a stronger position to co-ordinate relief/recovery in the wake of a future disaster.

Serve On relies on voluntary donations to make these deployments happen. Please help us to help others in desperate need of support.

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Community Resilience Teams:

Serve On is developing a network of formally-trained volunteer Community Resilience Teams (CRT) to support the emergency services and local authorities in their response to major incidents. Currently our CRT is based in Salisbury (with support from a team of volunteers from Portsmouth too)but with more funding we would like to expand to other parts of the country to enable us to replicate our successful volunteering model across the UK.

Our teams engage, recruit and empower all sorts of people, whether skilled or unskilled, employed or unemployed, young or older, in order to help other people around them. With expert training, our volunteers can then respond to a range of emergencies, such as flooding, power cuts or missing persons searches and in so doing transform the communities around them and  their own lives.

 *We are always ready to respond and our volunteers were on hand to help grateful locals with the effects of flooding in Tadcaster and Keswick in December 2015 and in Coverack, Cornwall, in July last year. More recently and closer to ‘home’ our volunteers were praised for their life saving efforts during the snow chaos brought by Storm Emma. Over three days and three nights our volunteers worked relentlessly clearing roads, freeing trapped motorists and ferrying district and community nurses to remote patients in need of vital medication. They even helped a pregnant woman in labour to urgently make her way to Salisbury hospital, by pushing her struggling car through the snow!

Dog Team:

Our membership is not exclusive to those on two legs. Our highly-trained four-legged members not only steal the show whenever we come into contact with the public, but the dogs’ unrivalled search and rescue abilities are an invaluable addition to our high-tech equipment when emergencies occur.

They work to the standards of the International Rescue Dog Organisation, train with a variety of other teams, including the British International Rescue Dog, the local police and fire rescue services, and undergo up to three years of training before assessment as an operational asset for Serve On.

*Our dogs have been deployed to Turkey, Colombia and Iran to help locate live casualties in the aftermath of earthquakes. Our current complement of seven dogs train extensively with their dedicated handlers and are regularly blood tested to make sure they are fit to travel abroad at a moment’s notice. While they wait for the call, Barney, Bryn, Luca, Storm, Molly, Mick and Ziggy are always available to join police missing persons searches closer to home, if required.

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Resilience Building:

In any disaster, it is often the survivors who are the first responders. It takes time to organise international aid, especially if the country’s transport infrastructure is disrupted, and even our small, mobile team cannot be there instantly after an earthquake or a devastating flood.

That’s why we don’t wait for disaster to strike. Our experts travel to disaster-prone countries to provide local populations with resilience and rescue training and disaster risk reduction advice to UK-accredited and International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) standards.

*We have delivered resilience training in India, Pakistan, Peru, Oman, Turkey, Bangladesh and Haiti and at most recently to Cebu, in the Philippines, imparting their expertise to local emergency responders in a joint mission to the country with Team Rubicon and Dentaid.

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Mentoring:

It’s not just natural disasters that can wreck lives and we utilise the skills and experience of our volunteers to help those less advantaged, whether they be long-term unemployed, excluded from mainstream education, ex-offenders or just youngsters lacking in confidence.

Serve On founder Simon Edwards has demonstrated how, with training, careers advice, good role models and aspirations, anybody can thrive.

*We work with The Prince’s Trust, Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Salamander project and Wiltshire College offering young people a taste of what we do and a way to enhance their lives. Our partners will tell you of the transformation not only in youngsters who were in danger of falling through the cracks but also in those who simply needed a boost to their confidence to fulfil their potential. Young members of our Rescue Rookies programme recently deployed to the Philippines helping to mentor some of the ‘scavenger children’ of Manduae City.

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Team Building:

Everything we do is underpinned by our values and our ethos; our desire to serve for the greater good and our knowledge that, by so doing, we will make ourselves better. It is a powerful message and big companies, academic organisations and major sporting groups have been keen for some of our can-do spirit to rub off during exercises with our volunteers and expert trainers.

*We were most recently privileged to put the England Women’s Rugby Squad through one of our team-building weekends as part of their recent World Cup training camp. Having discovered how much we shared in terms of values, commitment, dedication and team-work, we became avid England Women’s Rugby fans, all the way to the World Cup final, while a number of the Red Roses are now keen to join the Serve On team! 

How YOU Can Help:

Our volunteers provide the hard work and countless hours of their time for free, but humanitarian response equipment costs money and that’s where you can help: £30 buys a pair of boots for a rescue worker; £70 buys a life vest for one of our boat crew members; £100 buys a solar pack to power our laptops during a deployment; and £200 buys a GPS unit to keep us on the move in a disaster zone.

A donation of £300 buys a dry suit for our flood rescue work; £500 buys all the medical supplies Serve On needs for an earthquake deployment; £1,000 buys a generator to keep us self-sufficient when deployed to a natural disaster; and £1,500 pays for the care of a search and rescue dog for one year.

But we want to be able to do more for more people. To that end, £150,000 could fully equip a new Community Resilience Team or another International Response Team.

Thank-you for taking the time to read Serve On’s appeal. ALL donations are gratefully received and really do make a difference to our work and the lives of real people.

Please follow the link here to make a donation https://cafdonate.cafonline.org/4880#/DonationDetails

 

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Molly's Moment

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Molly's Moment

Serve On search dog Molly stole the show at the prestigious British Small Animal Veterinary Association annual Congress in Birmingham last weekend.

 Serve On Search And Rescue Springer Spaniel Molly captivated guests at the BSAVA Congress for veterinary professionals in Birmingham. Picture by Paul Clarke Photography.

Serve On Search And Rescue Springer Spaniel Molly captivated guests at the BSAVA Congress for veterinary professionals in Birmingham. Picture by Paul Clarke Photography.

Molly, along with her handler James Lewis, International Response Team member Sarah Weller and K9 Team member Maddie Elliot, were showcasing the charity’s work alongside hundreds of world-renowned experts.

The BSAVA Congress is the largest event of its kind in Europe for small animal veterinary professionals with lectures from speakers from the USA, Netherlands, Australia and the UK.

 Serve On International Response Team member Sarah Weller told veterinary delegates at the BSAVA Congress in Birmingham about the work of our charity alongside members of the K9 team. Picture by Paul Clarke Photography

Serve On International Response Team member Sarah Weller told veterinary delegates at the BSAVA Congress in Birmingham about the work of our charity alongside members of the K9 team. Picture by Paul Clarke Photography

It’s a must-visit annual event for top vets and nurses who want to keep up-to-date with the latest developments in their field and Serve On was happy to respond to an invitation from the UK's leading veterinary charity PetSavers.

Molly and the Serve on team took to the centre stage in the main arena to demonstrate how they use their highly-trained dogs in search and rescue situations.

Vets are well used to seeing dogs as part of their jobs, but Molly managed to capture their attention.

 Serve On search and rescue Springer Spaniel Molly with handler James Lewis explained the work of the charity and its K9 team to veterinary delegates at the BSAVA Congress in Birmingham. Picture by Paul Clarke Photography.

Serve On search and rescue Springer Spaniel Molly with handler James Lewis explained the work of the charity and its K9 team to veterinary delegates at the BSAVA Congress in Birmingham. Picture by Paul Clarke Photography.

Jane Cordier, the PetSavers fundraiser/coordinator, said: “PetSavers was delighted to welcome the Serve On team and Molly the Springer Spaniel to the BSAVA Congress. Delegates visiting the exhibition were treated to something different, as they witnessed Molly demonstrate her amazing search and rescue talents.”

She added: “It was a perfect opportunity for our two excellent charities to work together and raise awareness of the good work they do. PetSavers are looking forward to working in partnership with Serve On in the future.”

 Serve On search and rescue Springer Spaniel Molly with handler James Lewis explained the work of the charity and its K9 team to veterinary delegates at the BSAVA Congress in Birmingham. Picture by Paul Clarke Photography

Serve On search and rescue Springer Spaniel Molly with handler James Lewis explained the work of the charity and its K9 team to veterinary delegates at the BSAVA Congress in Birmingham. Picture by Paul Clarke Photography

PetSavers, which is part of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) and dedicated to improving the health of pets by relieving the distress and pain caused by diseases, was also offering the veterinary professionals a unique search and rescue experience with Serve On as the top prize in their annual raffle.

 Serve On Search And Rescue Springer Spaniel Molly captivated guests at the BSAVA Congress for veterinary professionals in Birmingham. Picture by Paul Clarke Photography.

Serve On Search And Rescue Springer Spaniel Molly captivated guests at the BSAVA Congress for veterinary professionals in Birmingham. Picture by Paul Clarke Photography.

With more than 6,500 delegates around the arena while our team gave their talks, it was a great chance to explain about the amazing work that Serve On does and our volunteers received plenty of expressions of interest in further collaboration.

To donate to the work of Serve On and its K9 Search and Rescue team:   https://cafdonate.cafonline.org/8008

For more information: http://www.petsavers.org.uk/

Pictures by Paul Clarke Photography.

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Back In The Groove

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Back In The Groove

After the disappointment of the March training being snowed off, our newest International Response Team recruits got back into the swing at the weekend with an introduction to Urban Search And Rescue (USAR).

 Operational IRT member Chris talking Serve On's new International Response Team recruits through some of our USAR tools.

Operational IRT member Chris talking Serve On's new International Response Team recruits through some of our USAR tools.

A good turnout of volunteers benefitted from hands-on experience of some of the tools and technical search equipment the IRT uses, and some valuable classroom lectures.

Trainers including Dan, Garry, Mark, Guy, Rab, Chris, Pete, Nick, Tom and Jay, began familiarising the recruits with our equipment storage systems and basic camp craft.

 Operational IRT member Guy explaining the water filtration system to new Serve On International Response Team recruits.

Operational IRT member Guy explaining the water filtration system to new Serve On International Response Team recruits.

The recruits were introduced to the operation of our water filtration system, which most recently proved its worth in the Caribbean after Hurricane Irma and which they would need to know how to use in any future deployment.

They were shown some of the generators, drills, saws and cutters they will learn more about in upcoming training sessions, and got to try out the base-camp cooker.

 Serve On International Response Team recruits try out technical search equipment including the vibraphone.

Serve On International Response Team recruits try out technical search equipment including the vibraphone.

Our recruits were shown some of our technical search equipment, including the Vibraphone; given basic lessons on collapsed building approach and assessment; and later got the chance to try out both in some earthquake scenarios at our Chilmark training centre.

The IRT trainees were given useful lectures on the UN-adopted Incident Command System (ICS) and on health and security in deployment situations.

 Serve On Operations Director Dan explains the UN-adopted Incident Command System (ICS)  to International Response Team recruits.

Serve On Operations Director Dan explains the UN-adopted Incident Command System (ICS)  to International Response Team recruits.

Catering for themselves in the field and working long hours in and out of the classroom, it was a fun taster of much tougher training weekends to come.

The USAR introduction was an early step on the long road to becoming fully qualified operational members of the IRT but aimed at getting them deployable in a support role as soon as possible.

The enthusiastic volunteers soaked up the information and left on Sunday afternoon looking forward to next month's training.

 

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Our Time Is Now

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Our Time Is Now

Now is the time for small charities like Serve On to get the credit they deserve, Joanna Lumley believes.

 Serve On ambassador Joanna Lumley at a fund-raising dinner at the Cavalry and Guards Club urges industry leaders to donate towards the cost of a CEO to help guide the growth of the charity.

Serve On ambassador Joanna Lumley at a fund-raising dinner at the Cavalry and Guards Club urges industry leaders to donate towards the cost of a CEO to help guide the growth of the charity.

The much-loved actress, who is a passionate campaigner and supporter of good causes, is keen not to denigrate the brilliant work of the big charities that have come under media scrutiny recently.

But she said: "The charities that I support are small ones where you can see exactly where every penny goes and the good they do."

Serve On ambassador Joanna, fresh from her acclaimed hosting of the recent BAFTA awards, was speaking before a dinner in London to raise funds for a full-time Chief Executive Officer for Serve On.

In a speech to an audience of industry leaders she said: "We desperately need a CEO.

"Serve On might be small at the moment but its passionate volunteers already achieve so much and help so many. It punches way beyond its weight.

"With your help, and with a full time CEO, it could achieve so much more."

Serve On ambassador Joanna Lumley appealing to donors to help fund a CEO to grow the capabilities of the disaster response charity.

Just a week after Serve On volunteers were earning praise for their efforts during the snow chaos, and six months after Serve On's International Response Team provided vital help in the Hurricane-hit British Virgin Islands, Joanna told the audience about some of the other remarkable disaster response and community resilience work the charity does at home and abroad.

 Industry leaders at a fund-raising dinner hosted by Serve On ambassador Joanna Lumley at the Cavalry and Guards Club.

Industry leaders at a fund-raising dinner hosted by Serve On ambassador Joanna Lumley at the Cavalry and Guards Club.

She told them about the deployment to the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, a country so close to her own heart; about the help for flood victims in Yorkshire, Cumbria and Cornwall; about our dedicated dog team; and about our brilliant Rescue Rookies.

The exclusive dinner guests, entertained in the splendid surroundings of the Cavalry and Guards Club at a meal generously sponsored by Charles Douglas of Charles Douglas solicitors, heard from chairman Paul Rose about the need for a CEO to take Serve On forward.

Charity stalwart Pete Old told the audience about the incredible journey Serve On has already been on to get to where it is now.

 Joanna Lumley listens as former Royal Marine and Serve On International Response Team member Pete Dunning tells how the charity has helped him.

Joanna Lumley listens as former Royal Marine and Serve On International Response Team member Pete Dunning tells how the charity has helped him.

Joanna and the assembled guests listened spellbound as former Royal Marine Pete Dunning related the story of the life-changing injuries he suffered in Afghanistan and how Serve On had helped him, and Operational Director Dan Cooke talked of some of the extraordinary deployments he and our volunteers have been involved in.

Joanna, who instigates a fun charity initiative in her latest movie, the rom-com Finding Your Feet, and who will take her first ever live show around the country from October, encouraged all the invited guests to donate towards the cost of employing a full-time CEO to deliver Serve On's expanding humanitarian work.

It’s the time of the small charities

*If you are interested in volunteering, contact us at info@serveon.org.uk

If you would like to donate to help the work we do, go to  https://cafdonate.cafonline.org/7081

Or you can donate for free just by doing your normal online shopping by going to https://www.goraise.co.uk/serve-on/

 

 

 

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A Fabulous Fund-raising Evening

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A Fabulous Fund-raising Evening

Serve On’s absolutely fabulous ambassador Joanna Lumley will be hosting an exclusive fund-raising dinner for the charity in London on Thursday (March 8th).

 Serve On ambassador Joanna Lumley hosting the recent BAFTA awards.

Serve On ambassador Joanna Lumley hosting the recent BAFTA awards.

Fresh from her acclaimed hosting of the recent BAFTA awards ceremony, Joanna will welcome an audience of industry leaders to the Cavalry and Guards Club to tell them about the remarkable disaster response and community resilience work being done by Serve On, both home and abroad.

She will also tell them of the great opportunity the charity has to transform the lives of many more thousands of people through its volunteering programmes.

 Serve On ambassador Joanna Lumley stars in rom-com Finding Your Feet with Timothy Spall, Imelda Staunton, Celia Imrie and David Hayman

Serve On ambassador Joanna Lumley stars in rom-com Finding Your Feet with Timothy Spall, Imelda Staunton, Celia Imrie and David Hayman

National treasure Joanna, who stars in the current feel-good movie, Finding Your Feet, will be helping Serve On to take its own big step forward by encouraging business chiefs and wealthy individuals to help fund a full-time Chief Executive Officer.

With a growing band of talented and passionate volunteers, but only two members of staff, Serve On needs a full-time executive leader to help meet the increasing demand for its services.

 Serve On volunteers were in the thick of the action during the recent #snowmageddon, proving the importance of Community Resilience.

Serve On volunteers were in the thick of the action during the recent #snowmageddon, proving the importance of Community Resilience.

The growth of the charity is the reason Serve On launched its 5x5 Appeal in December 2016 in a bid to build five new Community Resilience Teams in five years, and have the resources for up to five deployments to major disaster events in the UK and internationally each year.

Joanna’s own enthusiastic support for our humanitarian goals is rooted in the disaster response and disaster risk reduction work we have done, and continue to do, in Nepal, a country close to her heart.

 Serve On Search And Rescue experts were among the first foreign volunteers on the ground after the Nepal earthquake in 2015.

Serve On Search And Rescue experts were among the first foreign volunteers on the ground after the Nepal earthquake in 2015.

She will tell invited guests how, less than 36 hours after a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck just north-west of Kathmandu in 2015, Serve On’s small team of expert volunteers was on the ground doing their life-saving work while bigger teams were still struggling to access the country.

Joanna will also tell them of the brilliant work Serve On does in this country; of the plan to expand its network of community resilience teams; and how having a full-time CEO to provide financial leadership, oversee the recruitment of volunteers and coordinate the delivery of our work would guide the expansion of the charity.

 Serve On Search And Rescue technicians at work during SIMEX exercise in 2017.

Serve On Search And Rescue technicians at work during SIMEX exercise in 2017.

She will be joined at the fund-raising dinner by three of our dedicated members – former Royal Marine Pete Dunning, ex-Fire and Rescue officer Dan Cooke, and NHS leader and planner Pete Old – to give their first-hand accounts of the transformative work of Serve On.

It should be an absolutely fabulous evening.

Later this year much-loved actress Joanna will start her first ever live show with a 30-date nationwide tour entitled ‘It’s All About Me’, but for now she is proving again that for her and Serve On it’s all about helping other people.

 Serve On ambassador Joanna Lumley starts a nationwide tour in October.

Serve On ambassador Joanna Lumley starts a nationwide tour in October.

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Taking On Storm Emma

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Taking On Storm Emma

 Serve On and other spontaneous volunteers clearing roads around Salisbury as Storm Emma caused chaos. Picture by Ricky Ball.

Serve On and other spontaneous volunteers clearing roads around Salisbury as Storm Emma caused chaos. Picture by Ricky Ball.

Serve On and other voluntary agencies have been praised for their ‘life-saving’ efforts during the snow chaos brought by Storm Emma.

A dozen Serve On volunteers worked tirelessly from Thursday evening until Saturday evening, clearing roads, freeing trapped motorists, and ferrying district and community nurses to remote patients in need of vital medication.

They even helped a pregnant woman in labour urgently make her way to Salisbury hospital, by pushing her struggling car through the snow.

Other agencies did as much or more, often coordinated from the Serve On operations room set up at its HQ at Salisbury Fire Station.

Through the ‘Voluntary Agency Cell’ (VAC) which Serve On is pioneering, its volunteers were able to collaborate with other groups, including Support2Ops, Raynet, Team Rubicon UK and the British Army to deliver tasks passed to them from the Local Resilience Forum (LRF) via the excellent Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service control room.

 Four-wheel drive vehicles ready for action at Serve On's headquarters at Salisbury Fire Station.

Four-wheel drive vehicles ready for action at Serve On's headquarters at Salisbury Fire Station.

Together, with nine four-wheel-drive vehicles, they transported 18 district and community nurses through the snow to reach more than 50 patients scattered all over Wiltshire.

In the meantime, the snow-clearing and nurse-transportation efforts of volunteers helped keep Salisbury District Hospital and Savernake Community Hospital in Marlborough open.

The drama started on Thursday night as the effects of Storm Emma, on top of the chaos brought by the snow storm dubbed ‘The Beast From The East, began to close roads and cause devastation.

Individual Serve On volunteers joined other spontaneous responders to clear roads and keep important junctions open around Salisbury.

 A Serve On crew on stand-by for the next tasking from Dorset and Wiltshire Fire And Rescue Service control.

A Serve On crew on stand-by for the next tasking from Dorset and Wiltshire Fire And Rescue Service control.

It quickly became clear that more coordinated efforts would be needed and so Serve On put into operation their well-rehearsed ‘VAC’ facility, undeterred by the power failure which left their HQ in the garages at Salisbury Fire Station without light or heat.

Running their operations room by generator, the Serve On volunteers, including two youngsters from their Rescue Rookies programme, liaised well with the likes of Support2Ops, Raynet, Team Rubicon UK and British Army 4x4 drivers, to quickly and efficiently perform the tasks passed to them by the Fire Control.

 Community Healthcare Support Worker Harriet McKenzie with our volunteers Dan and Dave who helped nurses reach their patients.

Community Healthcare Support Worker Harriet McKenzie with our volunteers Dan and Dave who helped nurses reach their patients.

Sarah Orr, the Resilience Officer for Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust & Wiltshire Health and Care, tweeted: “A huge thanks to @W4x4Response & @SERVE_ON for their incredible support in keeping the NHS functioning across Wiltshire. They’ve all been incredible and their volunteers have definitely saved lives this weekend.”

She added: “I have heard a huge amount of praise for the Serve On teams that have been out today and their support has been greatly appreciated,” and she praised the coordination work of our volunteers Craig and Helen.

Brilliant nurse Harriet Fletcher, who was helped to battle through the snow to her patients by our volunteers Dan and Dave, said: “I would like to say a massive ‘thank-you’ to these two lovely gentleman who helped the community nurses in the snow today.

“These guys were at the upmost of professionalism and passionate about their work and I am truly grateful. True heroes. Many thanks.”

In another message of praise from nurses we were told: “I would like to say a huge thank-you to Matt and Tom who supported the Devizes District/Community team today. With great humour and kindness they enabled us to safely deliver essential care to our patients in and around Devizes. Thank you from all the team.”

The High Sheriff of Wiltshire’s office tweeted: “Community spirit @SalisburyNHS. 4WDs ready to drive patients, nurses, doctors. Also @SERVE_ON & @NARU_org assisting. Very well organised.”

 Serve On volunteers Paul and Ross keeping the car park clear at Salisbury hospital.

Serve On volunteers Paul and Ross keeping the car park clear at Salisbury hospital.

Salisbury Hospital staff tweeted: “Thanks to volunteers from @SERVE_ON and our estates team, our car parks are now almost cleared and cars can now enter and exit the car parks. Great job all of you.”

Someone visiting a patient at the hospital, who witnessed our volunteers Paul and Ross freeing trapped cars and clearing the car park, tweeted: “I was watching this from the window of Amesbury Suite whilst visiting an hour and a half ago. Total respect for this!”

Initial figures, to be updated when a clearer picture emerges, show that Serve On volunteers contributed more than 550 hours, worth a minimum of £4,125, during the snow chaos, though to the patients who received essential treatment, without which they would have been in great danger, the help was priceless.

When you add in the voluntary hours of other groups, it amounted to a brilliant collaboration.

Team leader Steve Pickering, who was in the thick of the snow clearance from early evening on Thursday, said: “The people who volunteered have done something they can be very proud of.

“We have had some fantastic feedback, from the local authorities, from the emergency services, from the NHS, from the military and from other voluntary agencies.

 Serve On volunteers Paul and Ross clearing the snow from Salisbury district hospital car park.

Serve On volunteers Paul and Ross clearing the snow from Salisbury district hospital car park.

“We have genuinely made an impact but that’s why we do it. We are proud to help the community.”

Operations manager Craig Elsdon said: “I can’t stress enough the value of the interaction we had with other agencies and the importance of the VAC.”

Operations Director Dan Cooke said: “We aren’t set up as a 4x4 response team, but it made sense to offer what 4x4 assets we had and to support those voluntary agencies who are and who did a brilliant job.

“We are all about being adaptable and what we achieved is testament to volunteers getting out there and making it happen.

“As I tried to explain to the amazing nurses we were helping, the cold late nights, the early starts and the personal sacrifice are all done with pleasure, especially when we get the chance to assist such great people.”

*If you are interested in volunteering, contact us at info@serveon.org.uk

If you would like to donate to help the work we do, go to  https://cafdonate.cafonline.org/7081

Or you can donate for free just by doing your normal online shopping by going to https://www.goraise.co.uk/serve-on/

 

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Floating Our Boat

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Floating Our Boat

 Volunteers from Serve On's International Response Team and Community Resilience Teams practice their flood rescue techniques @HaylingIslandSC

Volunteers from Serve On's International Response Team and Community Resilience Teams practice their flood rescue techniques @HaylingIslandSC

Volunteers from Serve On's International Response Team (IRT) and Community Resilience Teams (CRTs) have had a productive weekend brushing up on their flood rescue techniques.

 Volunteers from Serve On's International Response Team and Community Resilience Teams practice their flood rescue techniques @HaylingIslandSC 

Volunteers from Serve On's International Response Team and Community Resilience Teams practice their flood rescue techniques @HaylingIslandSC 

Thanks to the excellent facilities at Hayling Island Sailing Club they were able to get their rescue boats out on the water for some useful practice on sledding, wading and boat handling skills.

The conditions were ideal and though the weather was benign it is the lessons you learn calmly and thoughtfully, and get to practice over and over again, that you can fall back on when the going is much tougher.

 Volunteers from Serve On's International Response Team and Community Resilience Teams practice their flood rescue techniques @HaylingIslandSC

Volunteers from Serve On's International Response Team and Community Resilience Teams practice their flood rescue techniques @HaylingIslandSC

IRT membrer Elle said: "It was a great weekend. I learned loads, it was superbly organised and superb instruction."

Salisbury CRT member Barrie said: "A big thank-you to our white helmets for organising and delivering such a great water weekend.

"HISC is a great venue and they looked after us royally. The training was great and I can't wait for the next session."

Our international and national team members train together regularly in order to support our emergency service colleagues whenever and wherever they are needed.

 

 

 *If you think you have what it takes to support your community, want to make friends, learn new skills and have fun doing it why not join a Serve On CRT near you.

Find out what floats your boat.

For information, contact info@serveon.org.uk

Watch Serve On volunteers Faye and Patrick learning capsize drills here. Video by Steve Pickering.

Serve On volunteers from the International Response Team and Community Resilience Teams undergoing boat handling and swift water rescue training #HaylingIslandSC (HISC), including capsize drills.
Serve On volunteers from the International Response Team and Community Resilience Teams undergoing boat handling and swift water rescue training #HaylingIslandSC (HISC), including capsize drills.

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Sniffing Out New Recruits

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Sniffing Out New Recruits

Award-winning Serve On Search And Rescue dog Molly is on the scent of more volunteers.

 Search And Rescue dog Molly with handler James Lewis at Serve On training.

Search And Rescue dog Molly with handler James Lewis at Serve On training.

Fresh from a prize-winning performance at her local Blue Cross-backed Frome Fun Dog Show, two-year-old Molly has been helping handler James Lewis recruit new members to our excellent K9 Search And Rescue team and to sniff out new training spaces and volunteer ‘bodies’.

Molly’s dog show victory at Cheese and Grain, Frome, attracted some local media interest so James took the opportunity to explain the work of Serve On and the dog team’s need for people to act as Search And Rescue ‘casualties’ for dog training – an appeal already put out internally within Serve On.

 Search And Rescue dog Molly and handler James Lewis get some water rescue training with Serve On volunteers.

Search And Rescue dog Molly and handler James Lewis get some water rescue training with Serve On volunteers.

James said: “The dogs are an important part of our team and accelerate any search process by locating casualties or narrowing down the search area. They are trained to locate live casualties and are currently training to search in and around water.”

Members of the team recently joined with Hampshire Search And Rescue Dogs team for water rescue training, and Molly has been doing some water familiarisation of her own.

Search And Rescue dog Molly, with handler James Lewis from @SOK9SAR, undergoes some water rescue familiarisation with Serve On volunteers.

When they are not training on water or in ruined buildings, our @SOK9SAR team are currently looking for enthusiastic dog owners who want to learn more about their pets’ amazing capabilities by playing the role of missing persons or collapsed building casualties.

 Serve On Search and Rescue dog Molly obediently awaits her next instruction.

Serve On Search and Rescue dog Molly obediently awaits her next instruction.

James said: “It’s so rewarding…as a ‘body’ you learn about wind scent and how the dogs track lost people.

“During training you are asked to hide in places mimicking the situation of natural disasters. As you learn more, you help to make the dog work harder by developing your understanding of how the process works and hiding in more difficult places.

“We also help to provide training in communications skills, map-reading and first aid; valuable skills to take forward. You can come along and try before you commit.”

James, based in Wiltshire, and other members of the dog team in Gloucestershire, are always on the look-out for suitable places to train and James told White Horse News readers: “We are looking for more local areas to train. If you know of, or own, anywhere suitable – derelict buildings, open spaces with rubble, or farmland, please get in contact.

It’s so rewarding

“We train on a Sunday morning and are looking to come to an arrangement with land owners to continue the training work we do.”

 Serve On Search and Rescue dog Molly with her rosette earned in the gun dog category at the Frome Fun Dog Show, backed by @The_Blue_Cross, at @CheeseandGrain 

Serve On Search and Rescue dog Molly with her rosette earned in the gun dog category at the Frome Fun Dog Show, backed by @The_Blue_Cross, at @CheeseandGrain 

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Annual General Meeting

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Annual General Meeting

Serve On’s disaster response volunteers celebrated a milestone as they held their first Annual General Meeting since the merger of Serve On Ltd and Serve On Rapier.

 Dave Cook updates members on the annual accounts.

Dave Cook updates members on the annual accounts.

The organisation is now officially a Not for Profit ‘Charitable Company’ with the twin aims of reintegrating veterans and carrying out search and rescue.

Chairman Paul Rose presided over the legally-required board meeting, held openly in front of members, and Dave Cook summarised the annual accounts before Nick Mathew, Alex Cooper, Abb Dhanani and founder Simon Edwards were unveiled as new trustees and Dave Cook was announced as new Company Secretary.

Following the board meeting Pete Old explained to members that we had renewed our licence to use our training facilities at Chilmark and that, with the help of our friends at Laing O’Rourke, we would be renting further premises at Chilmark, though, thanks to Dorset and Wiltshire FRS, our HQ will remain at Salisbury Fire Station.

 Pete Old addresses members at the Annual General Meeting.

Pete Old addresses members at the Annual General Meeting.

Pete told how we will be strengthening our Rescue Rookie scheme and, separately, how we had reached a new level of understanding with our friends at Team Rubicon UK following a productive meeting with their new chief executive.

Martin Phillips outlined progress on updating the website and achieving greater reach on social media before Operations Manager Craig Elsdon updated members on the growth of our Community Resilience Team model.

 Some of the members in discussion at the Annual General Meeting.

Some of the members in discussion at the Annual General Meeting.

While Salisbury CRT continues to go from strength to strength, and we are working well with SARAID to support their Avon CRT, we are also making progress on CRTs in Portsmouth and Worthing. Basingstoke College of Technology has also shown an interest in partnering with us.

Tony Bates reported to members on how EVOLSAR continues to grow, and on the success of our involvement in a joint project to produce a Rescue Manual of information and common working practices, and Andy Harris reported on developments with the dog team and invited members to get involved with their work.

Members were told that our 5X5 Appeal continues, alongside efforts to secure funding for a CEO and that, as well as our continuing resilience training work in Nepal, the Philippines and British Virgin Islands, we are maintaining our DEFRA flood response accreditation and developing our INSARAG capabilities.

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Taking the Plunge

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Taking the Plunge

The freezing weather did nothing to deter Serve On’s newest search-and-rescue recruits as they began their swift water rescue training at the weekend. 

 Serve On humanitarian response charity's new search and rescue volunteers start their swift water rescue training.

Serve On humanitarian response charity's new search and rescue volunteers start their swift water rescue training.

Operational members from the International Response Team joined them to  their brush up on their own skills.

Our hardy volunteers worked until the early hours of Saturday morning – inside and outside of the classroom - learning the history, laws and techniques of Swift Water Rescue, plus information on water hazards and hydrology and some defensive and aggressive swimming techniques.

Before they finally got their heads down for a truncated night’s sleep, they were instructed on the proper care and usage of their Swift Water Rescue kit, and the importance of decontamination drills, and then packed their bags ready for action.

A chilly early start on Saturday morning saw them practising on dry land (but in cold and sleety rain) with their throw bags.

They were also taught wading techniques in the classroom and learned a few essential knots.

 Serve On humanitarian response charity's volunteers from the International Response Team practice their swift water rescue techniques.

Serve On humanitarian response charity's volunteers from the International Response Team practice their swift water rescue techniques.

Then, after Serve On’s Annual General Meeting, it was time to take the plunge and put some of their lessons into practice in the water.

A short drive to the River Avon at Figheldean found the ideal water conditions.

There were fluctuating currents approaching a mini weir, and some decent eddy fences to contend with plus some strainers and other hazards to avoid after the short burst of rapid water.

They found how, as a team and with the right wading techniques, they could make progress through rapid water that would easily carry away a lone person and they had ample opportunity to practice their line throwing for a succession of ‘casualties’ as fellow volunteers used their defensive swimming techniques in the flow.

 Serve On humanitarian response charity's newest search and rescue recruits wash down their kit after swift water rescue training.

Serve On humanitarian response charity's newest search and rescue recruits wash down their kit after swift water rescue training.

Back at Salisbury Fire Station, the volunteers diligently washed their gear and hung it in the drying tent they had constructed so it would be ready for the next ‘shout’, and after preparing a warming meal it was back to the classroom for more theory and some sobering videos of what can go wrong if Swift Water Rescue is not done right.

Another cold start on Sunday morning saw the recruits back in the River Avon, this time in Salisbury, practising more line throwing, wading and use of the reach pole.

By the time they had finished training and cleaned all the equipment, they were understandably cold and tired, but grateful for a weekend of valuable lessons, thanks to instructors Ian, Nick, Mark and Craig.

*Our amazing volunteers offer their time for free, but their training and the deployments they are preparing for cost money.

If you can, please donate to help the work we do.

 https://cafdonate.cafonline.org/7081

 

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Finky On Board

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Finky On Board

Congratulations to Laura Harding who has been officially named as our new Administration Manager.

Sweets all round! Woo hoo!

'Finky' becomes our second member of staff and is a very popular appointment.

As most people will know, she had already been working tirelessly for Serve On as a volunteer.

Great news! Finky in DA HOUSE!

She will start in her new role from February 1st.

Confirming the appointment, Pete Old said: "I am sure you will want to join me in congratulating Finky on her successful interview and job offer and welcoming her to this key role in the charity.

Congrats Finky. You’re the best!

"I am also sure you will support her in developing our processes and systems on which we can further extend our reach in both IRT and CRT development whilst keeping us within the law and administratively effective."

 Anybody got a step-ladder?

Anybody got a step-ladder?

Who better to help Serve On reach the heights it aspires to?

Finky said: "Thank you all for your kind messages. I am so happy you have no idea!"

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Successful Deployment to Bath

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Successful Deployment to Bath

 Millions of gallons of flood water pouring over the weir below Bath's famous Pulteney Bridge.

Millions of gallons of flood water pouring over the weir below Bath's famous Pulteney Bridge.

The pumped up nightclub music and the yells of drunken students were all but drowned out by the roar of the water as Serve On volunteers once more patrolled the treacherous River Avon through Bath.

Below the city’s famous Pulteney Bridge, in earshot of young drinkers, millions of gallons of flood water cascaded over the weir carrying trees and other debris in its path, sounding a deafening warning to even the most inebriated reveller.

 Operations manager Craig briefs volunteers Phil and Ross in the ops room tent.

Operations manager Craig briefs volunteers Phil and Ross in the ops room tent.

Members of Serve On’s Community Resilience Teams, International Response Team, K9 SAR Team and Rescue Rookies all combined to support our friends from SARAID-Avon-CRT and the Avon Fire and Rescue Service to keep a careful watch over university students enjoying end of semester/trimester celebrations.

 Dog handler James joined the river patrols with Molly, who proved popular with revellers.

Dog handler James joined the river patrols with Molly, who proved popular with revellers.

The swollen state of the river following heavy rainfall had made the situation all the more unpredictable.

Back in December our contribution to the Don’t Drink And Drown campaign had resulted in one 22-year-old being plucked from the freezing river which has claimed 13 young men’s lives since 2008.

This time the tally for the boat and foot patrols was:

*People dragged from the river – none.

*Riverside casualties passed on to paramedics – none.

*Endangered pedestrians steered away from the river’s edge – none.

*End result – a successful mission.

 Some of the Serve On team say thank-you for the help of the staff at Travelodge Bath Waterside.

Some of the Serve On team say thank-you for the help of the staff at Travelodge Bath Waterside.

Just as before, our volunteers set up our ops room tent with practised skill on the banks of the river and we were grateful again to the excellent staff at the nearby Travelodge, Bath Waterside, for the supply of electricity, not to mention the provision of tea and coffee.

While the SARAID-Avon-CRT teams diligently carried out riverside foot patrols through the city centre, our volunteers provided the ops room capability and had a boat ready to move at any report of trouble.

 Serve On volunteers Patrick, Barry and Lee ready for action.

Serve On volunteers Patrick, Barry and Lee ready for action.

Further upstream Bath Fire Station crews had their own boat on standby.

Mercifully the warnings about the dangers of the river which have been put out by the students union and the Bath and North East Somerset water safety group, in support of the Royal Life Saving Society’s #Dontdrinkanddrown campaign, seem to be getting through.

#GotYaBack #DontDrinkAndDrown

*Our amazing volunteers offer their time for free, but such deployments still cost money.

If you can, please donate to help the work we do.

 https://cafdonate.cafonline.org/7081

 

 

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Getting Ready For Action

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Getting Ready For Action

Christmas seemed a distant memory as the International Response Team and the Dog Team both started the New Year with full-on training on a chilly January weekend.

 Instructor Garry Wonnacott briefs International Response Team recruits.

Instructor Garry Wonnacott briefs International Response Team recruits.

All the volunteers knew the importance of hitting the ground running in 2018, with our newest recruits keen to become deployable as soon as possible this year, and their training will be geared to achieve just that. 

The Community Resilience Teams are already back in training and for existing operational members of the IRT it was a chance to sharpen their own readiness.

 Landslides in the Philippines just before Christmas. Photo courtesy of Philippines National Police Regional Office.

Landslides in the Philippines just before Christmas. Photo courtesy of Philippines National Police Regional Office.

With the festive season marred by landslides in the Philippines, more than 100 flood alerts in the UK and a 7.6 earthquake off Honduras threatening a tsunami in the Caribbean, the need for Serve On to be ready for anything remains as clear as ever.

In Salisbury, the new recruits to the IRT had a busy time as instructor Garry briefed them on our life-saving equipment, its storage and the way we pull it all together at a moment’s notice in order to get out of the door as quickly as possible when our help is needed.

He briefed them too on the tentage, lighting, generators, cookers, nutrition and general campcraft which makes us self-sufficient and able to offer vital assistance without becoming an additional burden on already stretched local resources in a disaster situation.

The trainees learned from Operations Director Dan about types of disasters, our humanitarian principles and personal administration and got plenty of opportunity to put some of the lessons into practice camping out at our training area.

While they learned some of the modules which will help to make them deployable as soon as possible, the dog team held some training exercises of their own, using the grounds and hangars of the training area to simulate open area and building searches.

The work helped to assess the dogs’ scenting techniques, agility, stamina and overall performance during longer searches, not to mention the post-Christmas agility and stamina of the handlers, and the team all had a great success rate.

Next month will be rapid water training for the new recruits but, in the meantime, all of our operational teams will be on standby for the worst that 2018 can throw at us.

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Saving Lives Together

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Saving Lives Together

Serve On volunteers have been in life-saving action in support of our friends at SARAID Avon CRT.

 The Serve On crew patrol the River Avon in support of SARAID Avon CRT and the #DontDrinkAndDrown campaign

The Serve On crew patrol the River Avon in support of SARAID Avon CRT and the #DontDrinkAndDrown campaign

Members of Salisbury Community Resilience Team pulled a 22-year-old man out of the River Avon in Bath at 1.30am on Friday morning as they carried out boat patrols in support of the Avon CRT’s pre-Christmas campaign to cut drowning deaths in the city.

No fewer than 13 men have died in the river in Bath since 2008 so SARAID’s Avon Community Resilience Team have teamed up with Avon Fire and Rescue Service, Bath and North East Somerset River Safety Group and Bath Student Community Partnership to try to stop the tragedies.

Particularly at risk are students when they have been drinking heavily and in the autumn SARAID volunteers saved two people alongside the river during Freshers’ Week.

 The Serve On boat crew patrol the River Avon in support of SARAID Avon CRT and the #DontDrinkAndDrown campaign.

The Serve On boat crew patrol the River Avon in support of SARAID Avon CRT and the #DontDrinkAndDrown campaign.

No sooner had Sherry Coles, Andy Gealer and the SARAID team been presented with commendations for those actions by Avon Fire and Rescue Service at the beginning of this month than the team was back out on nightly patrols as the risk of drownings rose with the start of festive celebrations.

Serve On’s Community Resilience Teams were requested to add their boat capability to the #GotYaBack and #DontDrinkAndDrown campaign and were happy to give their support to the great work being done by Avon CRT.

They also jointly manned the Operations Room which coordinated the different patrols.

With hundreds of people out and about drinking in Bath in the run-up to Christmas, land-based SARAID patrols helped several people who found themselves dangerously close to the river at night last week.

 A series of tragic deaths in the river in Bath has prompted the #DontDrinkAndDrown and #GotYaBack campaigns.

A series of tragic deaths in the river in Bath has prompted the #DontDrinkAndDrown and #GotYaBack campaigns.

They successfully dealt with one very distressed young man, several drunks and one case of hypothermia, and cleared numerous people away from the river, via the emergency services.

Without their actions, Serve On’s boat patrols might have been much busier.

Mercifully, our volunteers had a few quiet nights as they patrolled the river from 10pm to 3am but at 1.30am on Thursday night/Friday morning a Serve On boat crew heard a cry in the dark and when they went to investigate they found a 22-year-old man in the river holding on to a boat mooring line.

Serve On Operations Manager Craig Elsdon said: “They promptly recovered him, administered first aid and we got the ambulance service to look after him.

 The deployment to Bath saw the Serve On boat patrols supporting foot patrols by SARAID Avon CRT.

The deployment to Bath saw the Serve On boat patrols supporting foot patrols by SARAID Avon CRT.

“He was very cold. If he had been in there much longer it would have been a different kettle of fish. He was very grateful.”

Our volunteers will be back patrolling the river, in support of SARAID Avon CRT, this Wednesday to Friday.

#GotYaBack #DontDrinkAndDrown

*Our amazing volunteers offer their time for free, but such deployments still cost money.

If you can, please donate to help the work we do.

 https://cafdonate.cafonline.org/7081

 

Serve On and SARAID CRTs jointly ran an Operations Room to coordinate their patrols.

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Os Amigos Dos Bombeiros*

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Os Amigos Dos Bombeiros*

*That's 'The firefighters' friends', in case you wondered.

Serve on volunteers recently returned from helping Portuguese firefighters tackle an 'earthquake' situation as part of our involvement in EVOLSAR - the European Association of Civil Protection Volunteer Teams.

We sent three members of the International Response Team to take part in the SARday exercise, an annual 24-hour event held in Portugal for their 'Bombeiros' firefighter teams to come together and practice their skills.

 Serve On volunteers joined other EVOLSAR teams to assess and coordinate 'earthquake' rescue situations for the Portuguese 'Bombeiros' firefighters.

Serve On volunteers joined other EVOLSAR teams to assess and coordinate 'earthquake' rescue situations for the Portuguese 'Bombeiros' firefighters.

EVOLSAR teams from around Europe are traditionally invited to send Search and Rescue volunteers to observe and to take part in the various SARday scenarios.

This year the exercise was based around a fictional earthquake, with the various teams carrying out urban search and rescue (USAR) activities as well as rope rescues, rescues from vehicles, open area searches and K9 rescue dog searches.

 A main focus of the exercise was to practice INSARAG procedures, including the use of an OSOCC.

A main focus of the exercise was to practice INSARAG procedures, including the use of an OSOCC.

A main focus of the exercise was to practice International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) procedures, with extensive use of the On-Site Operations Coordination Centre (OSOCC) model and INSARAG paperwork.

Serve On IRT members Tony Bates, Brett Davies and Rab Smedley joined numerous Bombeiros and volunteer USAR teams from Portugal as well as EVOLSAR members from Malta, Italy, Hungary and the UK and guest teams from Italy, Germany, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.

 Serve On International Response Team member Brett takes a break from 'earthquake' rescue coordination tasks.

Serve On International Response Team member Brett takes a break from 'earthquake' rescue coordination tasks.

They deployed initially to individual sectors of the exercise area to carry out assessment work so that the Bombeiros teams could be called in and tasked with carrying out the rescues.

They were also tasked with command and control duties working alongside other EVOLSAR teams to direct the work of the Bombeiros teams, ensuring everything was carried out to INSARAG standards. 

*Our valuable work with EVOLSAR improves preparedness and emergency coordination all across Europe but it costs money.

If you can help with our day-to-day costs, any donation would be greatly appreciated.

 https://cafdonate.cafonline.org/7081

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A Festive Feather In Their Caps

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A Festive Feather In Their Caps

Christmas isn’t always the best time of year for poultry but Serve On’s newest International Response Team members kicked off the festive season in style with the 'present' of a chicken-inspired name for their cohort at their first training weekend.

 Phil talks through the October selection group's memories and analysis of the weekend

Phil talks through the October selection group's memories and analysis of the weekend

So, a big welcome to the ‘Cluck Hunters’!

Following in the footsteps of the ‘Moo Hunters’ and the ‘Baa Hunters’, the plucky survivors of our two tough selection weekends turned up full of excitement at Salisbury Fire Station on Friday ready to start their Serve On careers from scratch.

Egged on by existing operational members who will take them under their wings for the next 18 months of training, the new recruits had a gentle classroom introduction to life in the Serve On family, laid on thanks to the generous support of our friends at Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service.

 The November selection group discuss their memories of the weekend.

The November selection group discuss their memories of the weekend.

First up was a chance to relive the highs and lows of selection, remembering the pain and the triumphs of the weekends, comparing thoughts and analysing what each challenge had been designed to achieve.

Later, Operations Director Dan Cooke led them through a discussion on the key values that Serve On holds so dear and which will be their guiding principles in the months and years to come.

 Craig explains the anatomy of a disaster deployment.

Craig explains the anatomy of a disaster deployment.

Saturday morning brought the all-important administration chores as Operations Manager Craig Elsdon explained the necessity for the paperwork which underpins what we do, supported as ever by admin ace Finky.

After a kit demonstration by Rab, each new recruit cut the wooden block which will one day become their prized ‘diamond’ award for completing training and passing the final assessment.

 Rab explains some of the kit needed by Serve On operational members.

Rab explains some of the kit needed by Serve On operational members.

Then came the ‘Animal Farm’ task that would decide the group’s collective name, to be regarded as a badge of honour as their shared trials and tribulations through training develop their esprit de corps.

In a cacophony of different farmyard noises, Anton’s fowl impression ruled the roost so clucking was chosen as the sound to be hunted. Then came the challenge.

 Blindfolded 'Cluck hunters' seek out their crowing colleague. 

Blindfolded 'Cluck hunters' seek out their crowing colleague. 

Blindfolded and individually spread around the Fire Station yard, could they hatch a plan, come together in some kind of pecking order, with only whispering allowed, and, as one complete group, trace the sound of their squawking colleague?

Did they have the h-endurance? Could they pull it off?

Of course they could, and did, but their weekend’s work was not over.

In true Serve On style, new and old members had to build our tent accommodation and marquee in the grounds of the Black Horse pub at Durnford, in the dark and the rain, before we could hold the Christmas party and annual awards.

 Party time as volunteers let their hair down for the Christmas party and annual awards.

Party time as volunteers let their hair down for the Christmas party and annual awards.

The evening was a celebration of Serve On’s hard work and many achievements with a slideshow put together by Craig which captured many of the highlights of another eventful year.

 Treasurer Dave receives his well-deserved award with thanks from Chairman of the trustees Paul Rose (right) and 'compere' Pete Dunning (centre).

Treasurer Dave receives his well-deserved award with thanks from Chairman of the trustees Paul Rose (right) and 'compere' Pete Dunning (centre).

Colourfully presented by compere Pete Dunning, the Unsung Hero award went to our dedicated treasurer Dave ‘the cash’ Cook and there were special awards for Garry Wonnacott, for selfless commitment to Serve On, and Dan Cooke for outstanding contributions to Serve On.

There were awards, too, for Helen Littlejohn, Rescue Rookie Jazz Williams, Clare Gollop, Becky Elsdon, Dave Dunford, Andy Harris, Andy Lai, Anton Welcome (2), James Lewis, Lizzy Stileman on behalf of Team Rubicon, Ethan Elsdon, Vern Young, Rab Smedley and Nick Borritt.

Martin Phillips collected his ‘diamond’ award as Dan explained the significance of the trophy for the new recruits aiming to one day earn theirs by passing final assessment and becoming operational members of the IRT.

*Our Christmas party was a chance for volunteers, who give up their time freely, to let their hair down a bit after a tough year but there will be more challenging work next year and our new recruits will be part of that.

Training them comes at a price and it's not chicken-feed.

If you can, please help up to harness their amazing talents to help people in need, at home and abroad, in future.

£1,500 could fund a new set of kit for a volunteer working in floods
£1,300 could fund a new set of kit for a Community Resilience volunteer
£1,000 could buy a personal issue kit for a new volunteer.

£300 could buy a dry suit for a volunteer to wear during flood rescue

£80 could fund a set of overalls for a new volunteer

£30 could buy a pair of boots for a new volunteer

Any donations would be greatly appreciated.

 https://cafdonate.cafonline.org/7081

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A Monumental Effort

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A Monumental Effort

Serve On's International Response Team has an exciting new group of recruits.

 Candidates carrying their equipment after trekking through the rain all night.

Candidates carrying their equipment after trekking through the rain all night.

Twenty-three new faces will start training in December having been chosen from those who took part in our two selection weekends, in October and November.

Each gruelling three-day process pushed the candidates close to the limits of endurance, both mentally and physically, and while not everyone was ultimately chosen to join the IRT, all those who took part did themselves proud, giving the selection staff some tough decisions to make.

The weather in November, in particular, made the weekend’s activities especially challenging but both weekends were deliberately tough as we conducted our search for new talent.

 A short break from their trek, but no break from the inclement weather.

A short break from their trek, but no break from the inclement weather.

Exercise director Rab and all the directing staff who gave up their time to plan and run the weekends, getting as little sleep as the candidates, did a great job, and we were particularly grateful to our friend Ed Bailey for the use of his farm, bordering the ancient monument of Stonehenge, for both weekends.

So, thanks to all who took part, congratulations to all those who are about to begin their IRT training, and we still welcome those who were not chosen for the IRT but who very clearly demonstrated that they have much to offer Serve On.

It was absolutely brilliant.

Serve On IRT Member, ambassador and members' representative Pete Dunning said: "The selection we have for people who want to join Serve On IRT is tough, but we need to make it tough.

"When we are out on operations there is often little chance for our people to get much sleep within the first 72 hours so we need to know that people can still function as a team member whilst they are cold, wet, tired, hungry and more.

 Candidates led into position for a blindfolded line-search

Candidates led into position for a blindfolded line-search

"People come from all different walks of life, with different mindsets and different approaches, to join Serve On and we welcome all of their contributions.

"Congratulations to everyone who has passed selection and we all look forward to getting to know them a bit more and training them to be a fully-fledged IRT members of Serve On. "

 Another day, another line-search.

Another day, another line-search.

The rigours of our two selection weekends failed to dampen the enthusiasm of our excellent candidates and hopefully everyone who put themselves through the selection process got something good out of it.

It seemed like it from their exhausted reactions when we spoke to them at the end of their selection courses.

Here are just some of the views they expressed:

Anton Welcome: “It was sensational. I really enjoyed it. It was everything I expected and more. It was the best way to really get you prepared for things you never thought you would experience.”

 Candidates building their tented accommodation.

Candidates building their tented accommodation.

Tori Boyle: “It was absolutely bloody brilliant. All of us were unanimous in saying that afterwards. For me it was the first opportunity I have had to really test myself to the extreme. (Serve On is) an incredible organisation… (it would be great) to be part of the charity and to do something first hand rather than just donating.”

Lucy Hawkins: “I thought it was absolutely brilliant. It pushed me to my limits in every sphere, working with different teams, assessing myself and assessing others. How often do you get an opportunity like that as an adult, to have so much invested in us?”

 Getting to enjoy the hospitality of the slightly eccentric local  village elder.

Getting to enjoy the hospitality of the slightly eccentric local  village elder.

Elle Wilson: “I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was good to be back doing operational work. I really enjoyed it. I suppose I did have a bit of an idea what it might be like but there were very different tasks.”

Laura Edwards: “It has been great. A really, really good experience. Obviously it has been hard but I can honestly say I don’t regret it and tomorrow’s aches and pains will definitely have been worth it.”

Phil Harris: “It was absolutely brilliant. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was hard work, and not just physically. It is the never quite knowing what is coming next and always having to be on the ball. Having been with the CRT it was more or less what I expected but it showed to me the gaps in my knowledge.”

 Blindfolded building search.

Blindfolded building search.

Ben Hille: “It was very intensive. Full-on. The last scenario in particular was very realistic and there was a lot of pressure throughout, but in a good way. I am amazed at what you can do after three days of no food or sleep, working with a good bunch of people, both the directing staff and the other candidates.”

Diane Patrick: “It was really well-planned and put together. It was far more strenuous than I would ever have thought it would be. It surprised me how hard-core it was. Part of me understands why but part of me also thinks maybe it was too much.”

Toni Najdoski: “I thought it was good. Really, really good. It was a super experience; a real challenge and the weather made it even more so. It was a good mix of activities and a good bunch of people. It was thoroughly enjoyable and really challenging. A lot of us recognised where we could improve but also surprised ourselves with what we could achieve. We rarely get a chance to challenge ourselves like that in our ordinary lives. It was fantastic and I really enjoyed it.”

 A camp-cooked meal to off-set the cold.

A camp-cooked meal to off-set the cold.

Dionne Procter: “I think it is was mentally and physically challenging and I think if you are a shy person it definitely brings you out of that. It was awesome; a great experience and one of the best – and worst – things I have experienced. You are definitely pushed to your limits.”

 Catering in the harshest conditions.

Catering in the harshest conditions.

Pete Benkwitz: “I would say that, as a team-building experience and a challenge, I think everyone who put themselves forward to do something so daft should be proud that they got through it because it is a massive achievement. It is a sneak preview of the reality of what Serve On do.”

David Sanderson: “I have done some very bad things but this is one of the most intense physical endurance activities I have done. I found running from London to Brighton last year, carrying 25kgs, far easier. But it was enjoyable.”

Andre Pereira: “I have learned a lot of things I never knew before. The most important thing about the weekend for me was the people I met, both the staff and my fellow candidates. In some ways I learned to cooperate a bit better, which is great.”

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England's Ruck and Role-Play

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England's Ruck and Role-Play

Serve On is proud to be helping England Rugby develop the future stars of the game with a series of unique off-field activities.

Over the past year, in partnership with Mitsubishi Motors, England Rugby has exposed some of its most promising young players to a number of off-the-pitch experiences designed to develop their self-awareness, communication and leadership skills.

 Serve On IRT member Martin briefs players on their next rescue task.

Serve On IRT member Martin briefs players on their next rescue task.

They have been taken out of their comfort zones and challenged to adapt their thinking to work with different personalities and learn how to get the best out of each other in varying situations focused around three annual activities which they labelled 'Earthquakes', 'Big Brother' and 'Grange Hill'.

We can now tell how, in January, we provided the 'Earthquakes' element of their training when a group of leading Under-20s players spent three days with us being put through various search and rescue scenarios.

Later in the year the players lived together in a 'Big Brother'-style house, where they were set more challenges, and then the 'Grange Hill' element saw them spend two days at Thomas Becket school, refurbishing the sixth-form, creating a mosaic for the school front and producing a promotional video.

We wanted the activities to be unique and experience-led.

On their visit to our Chilmark training centre, the young men, some of whom are already on the books of Premiership rugby sides, were thrown straight into the action having been told details of earthquake scenario they had been pitched into and the roles they would be playing..

Just as the England Women's Rugby squad would do some weeks later, in preparation for their World Cup campaign, the young men were briefed on a series of 'disaster' situations, in a collapsing house, on a rubble pile and in tunnels, and then had to carry out the rescues.

In spite of the fact that many of them were still at school, the training staff could not help but comment on the stature of the young giants, and marvel at some of the rescue spaces they managed to get into...and out of.

You need to be able to co-operate, communicate and work under pressure.

The following day it was the turn of the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire Service to be their generous hosts at Salisbury fire station as Serve On and FRS staff put them through more exercises, including a timed obstacle course which took them through a flooded pit and really brought out their competitive nature.

Throughout the exercises, the hugely impressive players were not only enthusiastic and keen to learn but polite and respectful, displaying many of the values Serve On shares with England Rugby.

Serve On IRT member and ambassador Pete Dunning said: "Working with the England rugby lads was a great experience. As an ex rugby player myself, and a huge rugby fan, it was great to chat to some of the lads and ask about their training regime, what they have to do every week.

"It was quite an eye opener. Obviously they want to be first team players and future England stars so they have to put the hard work in behind the scenes as well.

"Overall it was a great few days with them. We had good fun with them and I'd like to think that they got something out of it."

Dean Ryan, head of international player development at the RFU told the England Rugby website: "Once you are in a Premiership environment it is pretty difficult to stop and reflect, so hopefully these activities will come at the right time to help support the players to be aware of what characteristics will be required of them to be successful at the highest level.

 England under-20s. Photo courtesy of RFU website.

England under-20s. Photo courtesy of RFU website.

“We wanted the activities to be unique and experience-led and compress experiences we have in life. We don’t want to define the end point, we want to create environments where people could develop and learn as well express themselves at their own pace.”

Saracens forward Ben Earl, who was also a member of England’s World Rugby U20 Championship squad in the summer, says the three activities have had a meaningful impact on his development.

“The first activity was about learning about yourself,” said Earl. “We were set some physically demanding challenges such as carrying people through fragile buildings and getting people out of tunnels as well as dealing with an earthquake-hit environment."

Earl, who also helped England U20s to Six Nations glory earlier in the year, added: “It’s all about developing as an individual and building those off-pitch relationships so that you work hard for each other on it.

http://www.englandrugby.com/news/how-england-rugby-are-developing-the-next-generation/

“You can only do that by understanding how others operate. When you are in those tough moments on the pitch, whether you are a try down or a man down, you need to be able to co-operate, communicate and work under pressure.”

Lance Bradley, Managing Director of Mitsubishi Motors in the UK, told the England Rugby website: “We are proud to support England Rugby in developing the next generation of elite players. Our staff have been directly involved with these camps, working alongside the players to help them learn and develop, and it is fascinating to be a part of this innovative and pioneering project."

The activities, including the training with Serve On, were put together by Leading Edge, and owner director Patrick Marr said: “Creating and delivering valuable life learning experiences condensed into a few days, that raise self-awareness and gives the guys new skills has been an exciting challenge for us this year. 

"We’re proud to have been able to bring our experience from global business and leadership development and have been impressed by the commitment of the players and support staff to really making a change.”

The RFU say these activities will continue into 2018 and Dean Ryan believes the players will benefit from the experiences both on and off the pitch.

“We wanted to make sure, through the different elements we were able to experience and capture, that we could connect with the players outside rugby to offer support and a plan of how to develop,” he said.

 

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Giving Gorda Something To Sing About

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Giving Gorda Something To Sing About

It’s never over until the fat lady sings, they say.

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The havoc caused by Hurricane Irma is certainly not over for the devastated communities of the British Virgin Islands and the resilient people of Virgin Gorda have been hampered in their relief efforts by the destruction of all their normal communications links.

Now, thanks to backing from Superyacht Charities and Viking, a new team from Serve On is on stand-by to return to the island to help the people of Gorda – Spanish for ‘fat lady’ – to find their voices, starting with a radio station.

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The terrifying storms which destroyed so many homes and businesses also wiped out all cellular communications on Virgin Gorda so that what the people need more than anything right now is an emergency broadcast system to help coordinate their recovery.

*The islanders desperately needs digital radio communications for the emergency services and local Virgin Islands Search and Rescue (VISAR).

*They need an enduring FM radio capacity for public safety and information broadcasts.

*And they need a VHF radio system that links the whole island, and neighbouring islands, and not just Gorda’s capital Spanish Town.

Serve On volunteers who arrived on Virgin Gorda to help in the immediate aftermath of Irma, along with our collaborative partners Team Rubicon, have already moved mountains to pave the way for the vital communications links.

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They have advised the local Recovery Operations Centre (VGROC) on setting up an incident control system to manage their recovery, initiated the communications project and physically carved a path to the top of remote Gorda Peak for a repeater station to be sited to enable the communications link.

Now they just need to install the vital transmitters and antennae and while Superyacht Charities have come up with £4,500 towards the cost of the equipment, Viking have donated £1,500 towards the cost of getting our experts there and back.

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An FM transmitter that Serve On previously helped to install for the island’s new FM Strong radio station had to be returned to the island of Tortola, and the existing maritime VHF signals were not able to reach the devastated North Sound communities.

The new equipment will not only boost the islanders’ immediate recovery but, once normal digital phone signals are fully restored, it can be packed away and brought out in the wake of any future hurricane to provide invaluable emergency communications.

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Superyacht Charities trustee Ken Hickling said: “It is a great thing that Serve On is doing and we are excited to support it.

“We said we wanted to put some money into Hurricane relief and with such a worthwhile project already underway there is an immediate opportunity to help.

“It is not us – Superyacht Charities – being generous. We are merely operating as a conduit for the generosity of the Superyacht industry as a whole. All our donors and sponsors are the people who allow us to give funds to good causes like Serve On.

“The superyacht industry goes to the Caribbean a lot so the devastation caused there really does strike a chord and our people understand the value of the marine VHF in helping the islanders recover.”

Serve On Operations Manager Craig Elsdon said: “The local people are incredibly resilient but they can’t do everything on their own.

“This generosity is just outstanding and it will provide an amazing boost to the efforts of the people to help themselves, not just on Virgin Gorda but on Anegada as well.

“The equipment will be massively important to them in organising relief efforts in the short-term but that is not the end of the story.

“Longer-term, if they have the misfortune to be in the path of a future Hurricane, they will be able to safely store the equipment until the danger has passed and immediately have the communications capacity to respond to any damage caused, so there will be an enduring legacy.”

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We still need to find another £4,000 to cover the full cost of equipment and travel for our team for this deployment, and we need the public’s help to fund the day-to-day work of Serve On, helping disaster-hit communities around the world and at home, so please give what you can.

Any donations would be greatly appreciated.

 https://cafdonate.cafonline.org/7081

 

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