SSEN funding helps boost Hampshire Search and Rescue Dog operations

Black labrador wearing high vis and sitting in front of Garmon boxes

Trainee search dog, Bella with Hampshire Search and Rescue Dog's newly purchased mapping and tracking equipment.

Hampshire Search and Rescue Dogs is extending its life-saving work thanks to funding from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN).

The charity applied for grants through SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund (RCF) and, with awards over the last two years amounting to almost £19,000 from the network operator, has been able to buy much-needed equipment to assist with their rescue operations.

In a previous round of RCF awards, Hampshire Search and Rescue Dogs was granted £9,925 to purchase a drone to enable the charitable organisation to pinpoint potential locations of missing persons, or those trapped in hazardous locations and in need of assistance. Now, to further boost their life-saving search and rescue capabilities, SSEN has awarded the volunteers with a further £8,977 to fund mapping and tracking equipment.

Hampshire Search and Rescue Dogs is a completely voluntary organisation, providing nationally qualified search dog teams to support the emergency services when looking for vulnerable missing people. They receive no government funding; relying entirely on donations and sponsorship. Training twice a week, all of its members are volunteers and are on call 24/7 to assist the emergency services in Hampshire and - when necessary - support the search teams of neighbouring counties.

Jo Niven, SSEN’s Head of Region for Wessex, which includes Hampshire said: "The work of Hampshire Search and Rescue Dogs is well recognised across the region and cannot be under-estimated, so I’m delighted that, through the Resilient Communities Fund, SSEN has been able to help them boost the essential services they provide. 

"The benefits that this equipment brings to Hampshire Search and Rescue Dogs and - in turn - to the communities it serves will be seen for many years to come. Our goal through the Resilient Communities Fund is to help our customers build their own resilience and to tackle vulnerability, and this is an excellent example of how the funding can be used."

Kev Saunders, Operations Officer for Hampshire Search and Rescue Dogs added: “The SSEN commitment to supporting our team over the past few years has made a significant difference in how successful we have been supporting high risk missing person searches throughout Hampshire and the south coast. 

“This funding has allowed our team, who are all volunteers, to search safer in all weather conditions. We are busier than ever operationally, meaning our equipment is in constant use. Ultimately, this vital support from SSEN allows us to save lives.” 

In its latest round of annual grants, SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund (RCF) has awarded over £185,000 to the successful applicants across its south network area. 

The 2019/20 fund extended its support to projects which achieve one of the following criteria:     

  • Vulnerability – to protect the welfare of vulnerable community members through enhancing their resilience and improving community participation and effectiveness.
  • Resilience for Emergency Events – to enhance community facilities, services and communication specifically to support the local response in the event of a significant emergency event.

With this refreshed focus in mind, individual funding – reaching over £39,000 in one case – has been awarded to projects demonstrating how their communities will be enhanced by improving the welfare of those most vulnerable, expanding community facilities and supplying life-saving equipment. In addition to the Resilient Communities Fund, SSEN has works closely with local communities in the south east of England, helping them create resilience plans for emergencies, such as adverse weather and possible power disruption during winter storms. 

This is the fifth year of SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund and during this time SSEN has provided £1.572million of funding to 216 projects. Set up in 2014 as a two-year pilot scheme, SSEN has pledged to extend the fund to 2023 using a proportion of the income it receives from the industry regulator Ofgem in relation to its stakeholder engagement performance.

SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund will re-open for applications in the spring of 2020. To find out more about the fund, please visit the website:
www.ssen.co.uk/Resiliencefund/ . To check who your network operator is and to see if you would be eligible for funding through SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund, please visit ssen.co.uk/whoismynetworkoperator.