Graeme Smith, Warwickshire's Chief Fire Officer and chair of Warwickshire Prepared, has welcomed news that a group of 4x4 drivers who voluntarily use their vehicles to help communities in all weather conditions, has enhanced its service with a Big Lottery Funding grant.

The Midland Rover Owners Club 4x4 Response, a sub-group of the long-established MROC, is a volunteer organisation which has formed a partnership with local authorities and brings assistance in emergency situations when the vehicles can be of unique use.

One such example was the severe snows of last winter when the members drove palliative and critical care medical staff to terminally ill patients to administer medication but other instances have seen the volunteers deployed in welfare checks on stranded motorists, area searches and evacuation assistance.

The funding of £9,846 has allowed the group to develop its response service, purchasing protective clothing and enabling members to train and certificate in off-road driving, winching techniques and vehicle recovery thus increasing capacity to support a growing geographical area which includes Coventry and Solihull.

Graeme Smith has applauded the work of the volunteers and expressed delight that they have received funds to enable them to broaden their remit.  He said:  "This is very welcome help to a group who carry out an incredible service to communities - not just their own - and which relies on the generosity and good will of its volunteers.

"It means that there will be more support for emergency services when destinations are snowed in, flooded or off road.

"Their support can make a critical difference to emergency services and other public bodies and how effectively they can respond at times of need.

"It is typical of the volunteers' positive attitude towards putting something back into communities that this richly deserved grant has been earmarked for developing the service to increase its capacity.  We are delighted to have them as a partner, helping us to protect the people of Warwickshire."

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Posted February 2nd, 2012 at 0820 by Andrew. Comment by emailing: