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West Devon Mayor Supports Dartmoor Charity

3 October 2022

Cllr Caroline Mott, Mayor talks to man behind the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team red-canopied stand. Two other men are also behind the showground stand.

The Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team (North Dartmoor) is a charity that the Mayor of West Devon Borough Council, Cllr Caroline Mott, is delighted to support. Many years ago, Cllr Mott was able to complete the training with them and spent an enjoyable number of years before work commitments called her away. 

They are a small but dedicated mountain rescue team of 50 people whose purpose is "the search and rescue of people in wild and inhospitable places". Whilst this is their stated aim, their response to incidents in support of both the Devon and Cornwall Police and the Southwest Ambulance Service see them responding to many problems well beyond the wilds of the upland moor. In recent years, the number of callouts have grown from approximately 15 per year to now averaging around 40.

This growth in callouts has also seen a shift in the nature of the people they are searching for. Historically they would focus on searching for walkers and climbers. However, in recent years and in particular the last two years, they are searching for despairing people (potential suicides) who account for half of all their missions. Sadly, a further 10% are people suffering with Dementia.

This leaves them, along with the other rescue groups across the Moor, a support organisation for the whole of the community and not just those enjoying leisure activities. 

Cllr Caroline Mott, Mayor of West Devon Borough Council, said: "This charity is very close to my heart due to my earlier history with them as a volunteer. They do amazing work for the community in all hours of the day and night rescuing people and often put their own lives on the line. They are volunteers who are trained to a high professional standard who work in very often-treacherous conditions.

"I'm proud to support the North Dartmoor team in any way I can and we look forward to seeing you at some of their events. If you are interested in finding out more about any part of the charity, go to www.ndsart.org.uk"

To carry out this role, the group train and equip the team members to be competent both in the skills needed to operate in harsh conditions, but also to be able to take care of casualties once they have been found. This means the team are trained with advanced first aid skills and life support processes.

This training process typically takes between 18 months and two years. This year they were pleased to find that half of the new trainees were female, which brings a balanced perspective and attitude to the organisation. So, if you find yourself wanting a new challenge, new members are always welcome.

Maintaining this training, team vehicles and equipment requires around £24,000 per year and they carry out many fundraising activities and events to feed the continuous funding need with no support from central government.

This year they are conducting a project to replace the control vehicle (Incident Control Unit) which they know will not make it through another MOT. To fund this the team needs to raise an extra £80,000 this year to purchase a base vehicle and then fit it out with the necessary radio and computer equipment to manage incidents. 

If you would like to donate to this extremely worthwhile and essential charity, please send your contribution to www.justgiving.com/campaign/NDSARTControl

All donations go towards helping provide a service to the community.

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