The Rapid Relief team has been applauded by Members of Parliament during a debate on the value of voluntary groups in rural settings. Alongside other charities including LandWorks, Prickles in a Pickle, Till the Coast is Clear, and SASHA, the Rapid Relief Team’s valuable work in rural communities was praised by Members from across the House of Commons.

Charities play a crucial role in protecting and helping communities to thrive. This includes in rural areas, where the Rapid Relief Team understands the distinct challenges from more urban settings. In rural towns and villages, local people often find it harder to reach public services, which can be located many miles away. This creates particular challenges during crises, when emergency service workers are further away and can take longer to reach those in need.

It is in these moments that the important work of air ambulance and ambulance services is particularly pronounced, often being needed to arrive at an isolated location at short notice. The Rapid Relief Team has a proud history of supporting these emergency services with a range of assistance to help their workers at a moment’s notice – and we remain committed to continuing with this important work.

As Anthony Mangnall MP, the Member for Totness in Devon, noted in the Parliamentary debate, our volunteers were quick to act when a local resident was in urgent need of medical equipment. When local healthcare providers could not accommodate his needs, the Rapid Relief Team took action and provided the necessary equipment within a few days, significantly improving his quality of life. This is just one example of the many ways that Rapid Relief Team volunteers put compassion into action to support communities and help those experiencing hardship.

With climate change also creating new challenges for rural communities, including fires from heatwaves and flooding from heavy rain fall, the voluntary sector is evolving its work to respond to these new challenges. The Rapid Relief Team is leading the way by demonstrating how the voluntary sector can work with emergency services to protect those whose welfare is threatened from such incidents. Together with emergency services and other public service organisations, we are working to improve local resilience for these challenges by leveraging our local insights from the communities we serve.

However, voluntary organisations are facing increasing challenges, such as from rising costs and difficulties attracting new volunteers. We encourage people in rural areas to consider how they could use their spare time to help those in need. Grassroot charities across the country play a vital role in helping their local communities to flourish, and local people have the knowledge and experiences needed to maximise the impact of their work.

As the Rapid Relief Team has proven, whether supporting community events or providing invaluable support to emergency services, local volunteers and charities are the backbone of rural communities. The Rapid Relief Team is proud to work with charities and emergency services across the country, and we are delighted this work has been recognised in Parliament.

The full Parliamentary debate is available to watch here

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