Recognition For Our Rescuers
Serve On’s life-saving work has been recognised by the government with a grant to buy a new rescue boat.
The Salisbury-based disaster response charity is among 57 groups across the UK which have shared cash from the Department for Transport for new equipment.
An announcement by the DfT about the new £1 million round of funding, including £19,500 for Serve On, highlighted how our volunteers were in life-saving action last Christmas.
Serve On’s Community Resilience Team (CRT) were carrying out night-time boat patrols of the River Avon in Bath in support of SARAID’s Avon CRT and Avon Fire and Rescue Service, in order to highlight the danger of students drowning in the river during end-of-term celebrations.
The volunteers, Including members of Serve On’s Rescue Rookies, were using the patrols to practice their flood response preparedness but the training exercise quickly turned into a life-saving operation in the early hours of one morning when the patrol found and rescued a 22-year-old man who had fallen into the river and was in danger of succumbing to the cold.
Our ambassador Joanna Lumley welcomed the new grant and said: “The Inshore and Inland Rescue Boat Grant Fund is a good example of how government money can enable the incredibly valuable work that voluntary groups like Serve On do in their communities.”
Salisbury MP John Glen tweeted: “Delighted with the announcement over Christmas of £1m funding to charities working to keep our waterways safe. As part of this, Serve On, based in Salisbury, will receive almost £20,000.
He urged his Twitter followers to support our ‘fantastic work’.
Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani said: “Our rescue boat teams are the unsung heroes of the UK’s waterways. Their commitment and skill keeps people safe on and around our rivers, lakes and inshore areas.
“Lives have been saved as a result of this scheme and our additional funding will ensure that these tireless volunteers and charities can buy the craft, equipment, and other resources they need to provide vital round-the-clock services.”
The DfT’s rescue boat fund was launched in 2014 to provide £5 million over five years to independent search and rescue teams working on inland waterways.
Over the past four years 201 bids were successful, helping nearly 100 charities buy 65 new boats in addition to launch vehicles, rafts, safety equipment and other costs.
Serve on was among 57 charities which successfully bid for some of this year’s funding which will pay for a total of 15 new boats and a hovercraft, including Serve On’s new vessel.
Another successful charity was Hornsea Inshore Rescue which made headlines over the summer when volunteers from the organisation saved a father and son who had been swept away by a riptide off Mappleton Beach, East Riding of Yorkshire.
There was funding, too, for Wiltshire Search and Rescue team which was praised in July for its role in finding an 82-year-old dementia patient who had been lost in the New Forest for three days.
The bids for the latest round of funding were considered by an expert panel, chaired by officials and including representatives from DEFRA and the devolved administrations as well as expert advisers from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, RNLI and the Royal Yachting Association.