Voluntary Agencies

We all know that in a fire, illness or crime event the Fire Brigade, Ambulance Service or Police will respond, many people also know that imbedded between them are organisations like the Council, the NHS, Public Health England, the Environment Agency and many more. But did you know about the Voluntary Agencies role in incident response?

Voluntary agencies provide vital resources and man power that is often overlooked. Groups like the Red Cross help those vulnerable immediately after fires, with others like Wessex 4x4 Response assisting in getting vital carers and supplies to vulnerable people in storms and snow. There are a large number of different agencies covering a wide range of activities and often these agencies deal with small incidents so that they never reach levels seen on the news channels. However they also assist heavily in large scale incidents like evacuation and flooding. In Wiltshire and Swindon these organisations come together to form VASEC, which is a sub-group sitting within the Wiltshire and Swindon LRF, set up to integrate all voluntary agencies into incident planning and response.

If you want to find out more about each organisation, please see their individual sections below, who knows you might fancy joining one yourself!

British Red Cross (BRC)

British Red Cross

Interesting Fact

In 2015 over 100,000 people borrowed wheel chairs from BRC

Description

The BRC helps millions of people in the UK and around the world to prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies, disasters and conflicts. The BRC specialises in so many activities it’s impossible to list them all here, but they do include, first aid, incident support, rest centre manning, refugee support, mobility aid and clothing.

How to Volunteer

Click here to look at the opportunities available

Website

https://www.redcross.org.uk/


Cruse Bereavement

Cruse Bereavement

Interesting Fact

Gave 1 to 1 support to nearly 30,000 people in 2015 and over 500 in Wiltshire

Description

Cruse Bereavement Care offers support, advice and information to children, young people and adults when someone dies, and works to enhance societies care of bereaved people. Cruse offers face to face, telephone, email and website support with services provided by over 5,000 trained volunteers.

How to Volunteer

Click here to look at the opportunities available

Website

https://www.cruse.org.uk/


Rapid Relief Team – Plymouth Brethren

Rapid Relief Team

Interesting Fact

Rapid Relief Team have provided 136,880 meals so far!

Description

RRT believes in expressing the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church scriptural principles of care and compassion. RRT provide catering assistance and refreshments to large scale incidents globally and are a real lifeline to those in need.

How to Volunteer

Contact your local UK networks for more information

Website

https://www.rapidreliefteam.org/who-we-are/


RAYNET

RAYNET

Interesting Fact

Founded back in 1953

Description

RAYNET is the UK’s national voluntary communications service provided for the community by licensed radio amateurs. The organisation has over 2000 members and provides radio assistance to hundreds of events a year along with emergency communications using its ability to access a wide range of radio bands and large volume of equipment.

How to Volunteer

Click here to find out how to volunteer

Website

https://www.raynet-uk.net/


Response Pastors

Response Pastors

Interesting Fact

Trained 150 volunteers in its first 18 months (from 2014)

Description

Response Pastors are established street pastors who are specially trained to deal with those affected by disaster. The response pastor’s prime function is to offer support and compassion to all in the event of a crisis or emergency; they can be deployed at any time of the day or night and will always remain impartial.

How to Volunteer

Join via Street Pastors (conditions apply)

Website

http://www.streetpastors.org/


Rotary International

Rotary International

Interesting Fact

Rotary have over 1,800 clubs in the UK consisting on 50,000 members

Description

The Rotary are a wide range of local & national clubs that meet to enjoy friendship, networking & plan projects to benefit the lives of others. They carry out a number of roles in an incident including, managing a volunteer centre, helping in evacuation centres, providing logistics & assisting in recovery.

How to Volunteer

By membership to a club

Website

https://www.rotary.org/en


RSPCA

RSPCA

Interesting Fact

In 2015 the RSPCA investigated 143,000 animal cruelty cases

Description

The RSPCA is the oldest and largest animal welfare charity in the world and operates within the England and Wales, although also carrying out outreach work across Europe, Africa and Asia. The RSPCA aims to prevent cruelty, promote kindness and alleviate animal suffering which it does largely through campaigns and inspections. The RSPCA also offer to house evacuated pets in disaster situations.

How to Volunteer

Check out RSPCA’s Get Involved page online for various opportunities

Website

https://www.rspca.org.uk/home


Royal Voluntary Service (RVS)

Royal Voluntary Service

Interesting Fact

Over 35,000 community volunteers

Description

Royal Voluntary Service’s primary role is to create a society where everyone feels valued no matter of their age. The RVS focus on the older generation and aim to keep them active and independent by providing practical and emotional support. RVS are also vital in evacuation centres where they are able to assist in welfare functions such as feeding, evacuee support, staffing and comfort.

How to Volunteer

Please see RVS website for local opportunities

Website

https://www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/


The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army

Interesting Fact

The Salvation Army was established in 1865 in East London

Description

The Salvation Army is a worldwide Christian charity whose purposes are ‘the advancement of the Christian religion’, of education, the relief of poverty and other charitable objectives of benefit to the society. In response they are also able to give comfort, practical and social need to those in need. They are also able to provide food, clothing and bedding when needed.

How to Volunteer

Jobs and Volunteering opportunities available online

Website

https://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/


The Samaritans

The Samaritans

Interesting Fact

The Samaritans reached 228, 370 people via school, hospital and homeless centre visits last year

Description

The Samaritans provide confidential non-judgmental long term emotional support, twenty four hours a day for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which could lead to suicide. They offer support directly in most of their branches and by telephone, email or letter.

How to Volunteer

Jobs and Voluntary opportunities available online

Website

https://www.samaritans.org/


Samaritans Purse

Samaritans Purse

Interesting Fact

Airlifted 40 tonnes of hygiene kits & essentials into Haiti after Hurricane Matthew

Description

An international Christian relief & development organisation that works through local churches. They are able to help un-insured or under-insured households affected by a disaster through the clearance of debris & basic repair work to make homes safe again. Staff are also deployable to care for people’s emotional needs.

How to Volunteer

Opportunities available online

Website

https://www.samaritans-purse.org.uk/


Serve On

Serve On

Interesting Fact

22 International deployments in its history

Description

Serve On focus on a variety of roles; International Search and Rescue, Community Resilience, Community Support, Dog Searches and Water Rescue. They also help to coordinate the Voluntary Agency’s Cell (VAC), which brings all voluntary agencies together at an incident, alongside also offering staffing for survivor reception centres and on the ground information gathering.

How to Volunteer

Opportunities available online for various roles

Website

https://www.serveon.org.uk/


Sky Watch Auxiliary Service

Sky Watch Auxiliary Service

Interesting Fact

Now one of the largest air observation charities across Europe

Description

Sky Watch Civil Air Patrol provides an additional air resource for the voluntary & professional emergency services. Pilots donate their time & a variety of light aircraft free of charge. They are able to locate people or property in danger and are able to monitor remote areas where access by normal transportation is difficult. Views from the air of the emergency or incident may be clearer than from the ground.

How to Volunteer

Pilot, Observer and Support roles advertised online

Website

http://swcap.uk/index.html


St John Ambulance

St John Ambulance

Interesting Fact

Train over 400,000 people each year to save lives

Description

St John Ambulance is the nation’s leading first aid charity. They work alongside the NHS in response to 999 calls, assist in/provide medical care at events and raise awareness/ provide first aid in communities. In an incident St John Ambulance is also able to provide medical cover at rest centres and help with the supply of blankets and other basic medical equipment

How to Volunteer

Many different roles available online

Website

http://www.sja.org.uk/sja/default.aspx


Surf Life Saving GB

Surf Life Saving GB

interesting Fact

Currently 7,000 members across many of the UK beaches

Description

Surf Life Saving GB is a national charity dedicated to lifesaving for aquatic activities; traditionally by helping making our beaches safer. The trained volunteers are also able to assist in flood incidents due to their high experience and training in water related rescue. The team has also branched out to terrestrial search and rescue & will assist the emergency services in searches for missing people

How to Volunteer

Opportunities available online

Website

http://www.slsgb.org.uk/


Victim Support

Victim Support

Interesting Fact

Offered support to around 1 million people last year

Description

An independent charity that works towards a world where people affected by crime or traumatic events get the support & respect they deserve. They aim to help people feel safer and stronger after the impact of crime by providing emotional and practical help.

How to Volunteer

See website for available opportunities

Website

https://www.victimsupport.org.uk/


Wessex 4x4 Response

Wessex 4x4 Response

Interesting Fact

One member has a hovercraft!

Description

A charity made of volunteer drivers supporting the emergency services, local authorities and voluntary agencies with the provision of reliable transport in times of major emergencies. This can be transport of people, supplies or recovering vehicles. Wessex 4x4 Response are a vital part of the response structure & are regularly used in times of harsh weather to aid with operational duties.

How to Volunteer

Various roles available - see online

Website

https://www.wessex4x4response.org.uk


Wiltshire Air Ambulance

Wiltshire Air Ambulance

Interesting Fact

They can reach anywhere within Wiltshire in 9 minutes

Description

Wiltshire Air Ambulance provides Helicopter Emergency Medical Care and work alongside the ambulance service and other land based organisations. The service can be ready in 2 minutes and are able to fly up to 19 hours a day. The Air Ambulance also carries blood on board and can provide transfusions to patients before they reach hospital.

How to Volunteer

Shop vacancies and fundraising available

Website

https://www.wiltshireairambulance.co.uk/


WILSAR - Wiltshire Search and Rescue

Wiltshire Search and Rescue (WILSAR)

Interesting Fact

Helped locate 20 missing people in 2016

Description

WILSAR provides specialist search and rescue expertise to the emergency services when they are notified of missing vulnerable people, whether this is in an urban or rural area. The team share a vast amount of knowledge, experience and man-power to mount a sizable and effective response. They not only carry out searches on foot, but also use bikes, boats and other modes of transport.

How to Volunteer

Apply on line for various different roles

Website

http://wilsar.org.uk/