05:00PM, Saturday 22 February 2020
Berkshire Lowland Search and Rescue (BLSAR) is among the winners of a £1million funding boost for rescue teams.
The service, which is the oldest lowland search and rescue team in the UK, will receive more than £38,000 from the Rescue Boat Grant Fund to spend on vital equipment.
BLSAR works in partnership with Thames Valley Police to locate and rescue high-risk vulnerable people.
The team is made up of 27 rescuers, all trained to the Defra standard, meaning that they can offer support nationally when required.
The rescue service will spend the money on new equipment, including a thermal imaging camera, to aid their efforts in recovering missing persons.
Rob Jackson, chairman of BLSAR said: “This funding will help us immensely.
“We will now be able to purchase game changing equipment like thermal imaging cameras and a brand new vehicle – helping us to carry vital equipment and people to incidents and support our emergency services in searches for missing people.
“As a charity which relies solely on donations, this grant means that we as volunteers can support communities and make a difference to other people’s lives.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Our rescue boat teams carry out vital work to keep our rivers, lakes and inshore areas safe.
“These inspirational charities and their dedicated volunteers save lives every day.
“This additional funding will ensure that they have the craft, equipment, and resources to provide these services year-round.”
The bids for the latest round of funding were considered by a panel of experts, chaired by officials and including representatives from Defra as well as advisers from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, RNLI and the Royal Yachting Association.
Since launching in 2014, the Rescue Boat Grant Fund has provided £5.7m to 104 charities around the UK.
Nationwide, 50 vital search and rescue teams will receive a share of £1m to boost resources this year.
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