Our water rescue volunteers went from bow waves to airwaves when they went on radio to tell listeners about the work of Serve On.
Members of the Salisbury Community Resilience Team, the International Response Team and the Rescue Rookies crammed into the Radio Odstock studio as guests of our good friend Gilbert Scammell on his brilliant ‘Gilly and Friends’ request show.
The Hospital Radio host, who is also a Tesco Community Champion, quizzed our volunteers about their life-saving and community work in Salisbury, across the UK and around the globe.
Operations Manager Craig told Salisbury District Hospital listeners how our different teams welcome volunteers from all walks of life and offer not only the chance to make a difference in the community but also to have great fun.
“We take our rescue work incredibly seriously and we work hard to maintain UN standards, but there is also the social side to being part of a friendly, inclusive team,” he said.
Craig was part of the Serve On deployment to the British Virgin Islands in the wake of Hurricane Irma in 2017 and said a Serve On team would be returning to the Caribbean this year to fit an FM Radio and a digital VHS repeater on Virgin Gorda so the inhabitants can have emergency communications in the event of future hurricanes.
Community Resilience Team member, International Response Team trainee and full-time nurse Lucy told how, having been a carer for her mother and a single mum, as well as having her own company, she had been looking for something different in her life – a chance to give something back to the community and to learn new skills as well as being part of a team.
“I have been with Serve On for four years now and I have had so many fantastic experiences. It is a major part of my life now,” she said.
Lucy, who has just returned from working with Raleigh International in Tanzania for four months, said: “A lot of the skills that Serve On has given me have enabled me to pursue my career as an expedition medic and a volunteer manager.
She was part of the Serve On response to flooding in Keswick, and to the flash flooding in Coverack, Cornwall, in 2017.
Beach lifeguard Matt, who first joined Serve On as a Rescue Rookie, said: “I have always been keen on water rescue and humanitarian work and Serve On does both so it was perfect. The team is really friendly and just awesome.”
He said he had benefited from swift water rescue training in North Wales and his experiences with the charity had already helped to develop his leadership skills.
Rescue Rookie Jazz recalled turning up at Salisbury Fire Station at the age of 14 to ask if she could volunteer and finding herself, two years later, as part of a five-strong Serve On team deployed to the Philippines to give search and rescue training to local first responders on Cebu and disaster risk reduction advice to school children in Mandaue City..
She said the experience, and the confidence she had gained, had made her re-evaluate her choice of career path and now she is hoping to become a paramedic.
Salisbury CRT manager Steve said: “Serve On is one big family and we need all sorts of skills so even skills you don’t think are important we can find a use for. Come and join us and get up to all sorts of cool stuff.”
Bank worker Becky explained how, as well as rescuers, Serve On always has room for people to help with welfare and administration, and driving, and there is no upper age limit. “It boils down to people from all different walks of life,” she said.
“It is good to go out and make a difference and to see that difference face to face with the people that you help in the community.”
The team pointed out that Serve On volunteers included carpenters, builders, nurses, administrators, shopkeepers, bar workers, firefighters, paramedics, retirees, unemployed, writers, able-bodied and disabled, as well as military veterans.
Serve On volunteers will be supporting the Alabare charity at the Beating The Retreat event at Old Sarum Castle tonight, and will be helping with Armed Forces Day events next weekend.