Volunteer group, 4x4 Assist, which helps out at numerous events in Eastbourne, has been recognised for its community work as it becomes a charity, registered with the Charity Commission.
The 50-strong team of responders offer support to the emergency services in their own vehicles during adverse weather and community incidents.
Co-founder of 4x4 Assist, Paul Gibson commented, “We’re absolutely delighted we’ve achieved this in under two years of forming the group. It’s a fantastic landmark for 4x4 Assist, we can now apply for essential funding to pay for responder training and equipment to further grow the group across Sussex.”
4x4 Assist was formed following an incident in May 2015 which saw thousands of Hailsham residents without mains water. During the outage, a small group used their training and vehicles to co-ordinate the distribution of water to the town, and delivered supplies to the elderly, vulnerable and expectant mothers throughout the 48-hour period.
Since then, 4x4 Assist has been recruiting volunteers with off-road vehicles to become trained drivers to help medical staff, authorities and communities in adverse weather conditions, such as floods and snow and when emergency resources are stretched. They can also be seen helping out at events such as Airbourne, Chestnut Tree’s Night to Remember and Eastbourne’s 999 Emergency Services Weekend.
On joining, all responders are assessed by RoSPA Sussex and their vehicles undergo a strict maintenance regime to ensure safety and vehicle readiness. Volunteers are also put through a unique Ofqual Level 2 Emergency First Aid qualification which has been designed for the group and further expands their skills when helping during incidents.
4x4 Assist has agreements with NHS to transport staff and logistical equipment in adverse weather, and it’s also a member of the Sussex Resilience Forum which was formed to deal with community incidents in the county.
The group also offers marshalling and vehicle support services to large events and businesses during the year. 4x4 owners across the county are being urged to join 4x4 Assist to find out how they can help people in need during adverse weather.
For more information on the work of 4x4 Assist or to join, visit their website.