Bolton has recruited its first group of Bolton Community Emergency Volunteers (BCEVs), who will provide vital community support in response to major incidents.
Bolton Council, in partnership with Bolton CVS and the Greater Manchester Resilience Forum, has been working to train BCEVs across the borough who will be ready to support the emergency services when needed.
Volunteers are trained to help with evacuations as well as general humanitarian and communication support to reassure the public during floods, severe weather, or other events.
While this type of response is new to Bolton, emergency volunteer teams are being set up across the country to assist local responders in developing a better understanding of their communities and their needs.
These programmes have been established thanks to the lessons learned during the COVID-19 response.
During the pandemic, many people stepped up to volunteer in a variety of roles and were keen to help others in a crisis.
At the same time during May 2021, a significant flood impacted Horwich and Lostock areas where many people turned out to help their neighbours.
It has been recognised that the local knowledge, lived experience and expertise of volunteers across communities is vital in helping people to prepare and respond to emergency events in their area.
Cllr Richard Silvester, Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment, responsible for Civil Contingencies, said:
“We know that when emergencies happen there are many people keen to support their community but are not always sure how best to help.
“This new group of Bolton Community Emergency Volunteers will mean that community and voluntary capabilities are better understood and integrated into resilience and emergency management activities.
“It was inspiring to meet all the volunteers and hear about their own experiences, and I would like to give a sincere thank you to all on behalf of the council.”
Andrew, one of the first emergency volunteers, said:
“I’m retired now so volunteer as I was keen to share my career skills as I used to manage buildings and be responsible for health and safety.
“I was keen to get involved in the emergency volunteers programme so I could share some of this expertise and learn more about the services and processes involved in responding to emergencies in Bolton.
“I have learned so much on the training programme and have also been able to share my experiences with others and make new friends.”
To find out more about becoming a Bolton Community Emergency Volunteer email firstname.lastname@example.org