Oxfordshire Lowland Search and Rescue life-saving service boosted by SSEN funding

Man and woman standing with vans

Pictured above are SSEN's Lucy Anderson and OxSAR's Jonathan Stephenson-Paul with the new serach and rescue vehicle.

A new Incident Control Vehicle, partly financed by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks’ (SSEN) Resilient Communities Fund, is now helping Oxfordshire Lowland Search and Rescue to carry out vital work across central southern England.

OxSAR applied for the funding, which provides up to £20,000 to applicants seeking to boost resilience projects in their communities in the north of Scotland and central southern England, to enhance their response to calls for assistance in missing person searches. The vehicle has been fully operational for two months and has already been used as part of the team’s rapid response to eight incidents across the region.

Kitted out with cutting-edge, search management technology, the vehicle puts OxSAR at the forefront of Search and Rescue operations in the UK. With increased space for vital medical and rescue equipment and two workstations for a search manager and an operations manager, the members of the team can work independently, but in close enough proximity in order to share vital information.

When a vulnerable person goes missing, the OxSAR team are called by Thames Valley Police and can mobilise a team of volunteers within an hour. The vehicle is then the centre of the search activity; where the search is planned, where the operational details are organised and as an area to hold all the necessary equipment for specialised searches including water rescue in river or floodwaters. 

Lucy Anderson, SSEN’s Customer Relationship Manager said: "The work of Oxfordshire Lowland Search and Rescue is well recognised across the region and it’s wonderful to be able to further boost the essential service its teams provide by using the SSEN Resilient Communities Fund to help them purchase and kit out the vehicle.

"The benefits this new vehicle brings to OxSAR and - in turn - to the communities it serves can’t be underestimated. Our goal through the Resilient Communities Fund is to help our customers build their own resilience: this is an excellent example of how the funding can be used and, for SSEN, another way of showing that our customers really are at the heart of all we do."

OxSAR chairman, Jonathan Stephenson-Paul added: "We are thrilled that our new state-of-the-art van, purchased with a generous SSEN grant is now operational. This has already made us more efficient, safer and improved our workflow. It has made a huge difference supporting the work and dedication of our outstanding volunteer team."

Applications for the latest round of funding from the Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks Resilient Communities Fund are now open across central southern England, with up to £20,000 available to charities and local groups who wish to undertake a resilience project to help protect their communities in the event of an emergency.

Guidelines and applications forms are available on SSEN’s website: www.ssen.co.uk/RCF/England/

The closing date for applications is Tuesday 15 May 2018, with awards being made in autumn 2018.