NSARDA - supporting our communities come rain or shine

This week it’s National Volunteers’ Week in the UK, an annual event which takes place on 1-7 June.  It celebrates the contribution made by millions of volunteers across the UK.  We want to share the stories of some of the volunteers we are proud to work with.  Could you be the next NSARDA volunteer? Visit their website to see the many roles and take a look at their Training page for opportunities.

 By James Dunn, Chairman NSARDA Kent

I’m often asked by people who are thinking of joining NSARDA Kent why do I volunteer.  I answer by explaining the level of commitment there is in training a Search and Rescue dog on top of all the training the handler must undertake.  This normally leaves people slightly concerned about what they are getting into.  To give you an idea, in Kent we train every other Sunday come rain or shine and one to two evenings in the week.  Our members are also members of Kent Search and Rescue who train every other Monday.  This level of commitment is very high when you consider we’re all volunteers and don’t even get any expenses paid for training or real callouts.

So why do I do it?  I was looking to put the skills I have to good use, as well as putting something back in to the wider community.  After moving to Kent I got involved with Kent Search and Rescue and wanted to train a Search dog as there where none in the county.  It was obvious to me that a dog could search much more efficiently than any human and given the rising number of callouts would be a huge asset to make a lifesaving difference.  Since our beginnings in 2008, NSARDA Kent have trained four qualified Search dogs ready for callouts.  And supporting the four dogs are a team of great people who support with their continuous training and help raise funds to keep us going.  Without the team and the dogs we wouldn’t have been able to respond to the 83 call outs we had in 2014.

So if you’re reading this wondering why people give up huge parts of their lives to do this sort of volunteer work its hugely rewarding to work with likeminded people for a common goal and make a difference to our community.

There are opportunities to train with any NSARDA Association as a Dog Handler, Dog Support / Navigator and to help out as a ‘Dogs Body’. Could you be the next NSARDA volunteer? Visit their website to see the many roles and take a look at their Training page for opportunities.

Watch our film to find out more.