UK Search and Rescue Volunteer Training Fund  

The aim of the UKSAR Volunteer Training Fund is to assist Search and Rescue volunteering, by providing support for the costs of volunteers' operational training, to help improve safety and the quality of UKSAR services.

Grants available

Grants are available from the UKSAR Volunteer Training Fund (UKSAR VTF)and funding will cover the period April 2024 to March 2026. Grants will offer support to UK Search and Rescue (SAR) organisations towards the training costs of their operational volunteersto support UK Search and Rescue (SAR) organisations with the training costs of their operational volunteers. Training must be considered to be a high priority to the organisation and must improve both the capability of the organisation and its volunteers, and reflect the proven operational need in the local area.

Applicants must set out clearly why this training is a priority for their volunteers and how this training will benefit your organisation and its UKSAR capabilities. We will request applicants to prioritise their identified training needs and will expect applications to focus on high quality operational search and rescue training. This may include:

  • core skills training for new or existing volunteers, linked to proven operational need in the local area
  • avoiding skills fade for existing volunteers, caused by delays or reduction of training opportunities during the pandemic
  • revalidation of core training for existing volunteers
  • training which incorporates appropriate wellbeing approaches

In addition, skills cascade training, ‘Train the Trainer’ opportunities and cross-team collaboration, which seek to future-proof a team’s training needs to a reasonable extent, will be viewed positively. However, we recognise that this is useful but not always possible in every situation.

Please note: This will be the final round for the UKSAR Volunteer Training Fund as the fund has now been disbursed over the last funding rounds since its launch in 2015. The programme will close after this grant round and there will be no further opportunities to apply for funding via this fund. Grants for this round may be applied over a two -year period, from 01 April 2024 to 31 March 2026. Limited funds are available and, unfortunately, we may not be able to award full grants to all organisations which apply, however, partial grants may be made.

All training must be completed between 01 April 2024 and 31 March 2026. Successful applicants will be required to report on their activities and the difference made as a result of the grant. Reports will be due 30 April 2026, but may be submitted earlier where the grant activities are completed sooner

Who can apply?

UK charitable SAR organisations seeking support to train their volunteers are eligible to apply.

Umbrella organisations listed below may make global applications to the Fund on behalf of their affiliated groups or for core training.

  • Association of Lowland Search and Rescue
  • British Cave Rescue Council
  • Mountain Rescue England and Wales
  • Royal Lifesaving Society UK
  • Scottish Mountain Rescue
  • Surf Lifesaving Great Britain
  • Independent Lifeboats (at this time we are willing to accept applications submitted by the Independent Lifeboats umbrella body as well as independent applications from individual organisations affiliated to this umbrella body)

If you are affiliated to one of these SAR bodies, we recommend you contact them with sufficient time before the deadline to review your training request or discuss how they can incorporate your training needs into their application for funds.

If you are not affiliated to one of these SAR bodies, and meet the eligibility criteria below, you will be able to apply on an individual organisational basis.

Eligible organisations may be either well-established or newer teams, and are those which:

  • provide both search and rescue services as part of their core activities
  • can evidence that their activities are tasked by a statutory authority by providing a tasking letter on a letterhead from the relevant statutory tasking authority
  • provide search and rescue services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week basis (where appropriate)
  • can prove that their training requirements reflect a confirmed operational need in their local area
  • are a constituted organisation in the UK with a charitable governance document

What training costs can be funded?

  • Operational training for SAR volunteers in the UK which directly correlates with specific operational needs in the local area
  • Courses related to the training of operational SAR volunteers, which are central to your activities
  • Hiring external trainers for course delivery
  • Administration costs, if essential to training courses
  • Volunteers’ travel costs and accommodation when this is integral to the training itself. You will need to provide a clear explanation and breakdown of costs. If accommodation costs are not integral to the training, you must fund these separately
  • Costs of training equipment (e.g manikins or training defibrillators)
  • Blue light training, if applicable
  • Up to 50% off the costs of the training
  • Training costs incurred between 01 April 2024 and 31 March 2026

A full and detailed breakdown of training costs must be provided in order of priority. In some instances, partial funding may be made.

In order to ensure that the greatest number of teams can be supported with the funds available this year, the Fund will provide up to 50% of training costs. We encourage all SAR charities to rank their training needs in order of high, medium and low priority and also to develop a variety of sustainable ways to fund their training.  We therefore require all applicants to commit 50% of the costs of training.

Due to the wide range of size of organisations that apply to the UKSAR Volunteer Training Fund, there is not currently an upper limit for grant requests but we do expect applicants to be reasonable. We expect requests for support to be a minimum of £1,000, depending on need, scale and impact. The decision making process will review value for money to ensure that funds are used effectively.

What we will not fund

  • Non-charitable organisations
  • Organisations working outside the UK
  • Organisations not able to provide a tasking letter at the time of applying
  • Organisations not tasked for search and rescue by the relevant statutory authority and/or not recognised as viable SAR asset
  • Applications made by individuals
  • Disproportionately sized requests, compared to organisation turnover or activity levels
  • Request for training which is beyond core operational training needs in the current year
  • Requests for activities that are not essential to the training of operational volunteers
  • Equipment not directly related to the provision of training of volunteers (i.e. if it would be for ongoing operational use) 
  • Training in the operation of drones
  • Training taking place outside of the UK
  • More than 50% of the total costs of the training
  • Costs to be incurred prior to 31 March 2024 or after March 2026

Important: Before you apply

Application process

All organisations must complete the online application form by the deadline listed below. The application asks for key information about your organisation and includes questions to help us understand what support you need and why, and what difference a grant would make to your volunteers and to your community. It is important that you clearly set out and rank your training priorities and state why this training is important to your volunteers.

We also ask how you will fund the required 50% of the costs and whether your organisation is developing a longer-term plan for your training needs. We will check the documents you provide, and review your Charity Commission records, website and any other publicly available information .

Umbrella organisation applicants:

  • must upload an additional list of training for each team covered by the grant request, ranked in order of priority with an appropriate breakdown of costs, along with a detailed narrative of what is needed and why
  • must provide a letter of support as confirmation that their teams are appropriately tasked by the relevant statutory authority or are on the national/ community asset register
  • that deliver search and rescue training but are not an operational search and rescue body, will need to provide a letter of support from the tasking authority they would be working to for the majority of the funding they are seeking
  • must confirm that any grant will be allocated to the teams as agreed
  • must confirm that you can report back on the use of the grant in due course


Individual team applicants:

  • must rank their training needs and list the training covered by the grant request, with an appropriate breakdown of costs, along with a detailed narrative of what is needed and why in order of priority
  • must upload a letter of support from their tasking authority confirming that the training will support operational need in the area and/or proof of current inclusion on national/community asset register
  • must ensure that your records are up to date on the relevant Charity Commission site (England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland)
  • must confirm that you have a bank account in the charitable organisation’s name
  • must confirm that you can report back on the use of the grant in due course
If previously funded  through this scheme, applicants must have completed prior reporting requirements (i.e., outlining what training was undertaken and the difference this made between April 2022 - March 2023). Note, reports for current activities taking place between April 2023 and March 2024 are not due until April 2024.


Please ensure that you have read the programme details above carefully before deciding on what your application will cover. Please ensure you have contacted your tasking authority in good time to seek a letter of support. We will be unable to accept any information provided after the application deadline.


    Online application form opens      

        14 August 2023         

   Deadline for application submissions   

  14 November 2023

Notification of grant decisions

01 March 2024

Grant payments 
From 01 April 2024

Training completed / grant spent
31 March 2026

 Reporting on impact of the grant 
30 April 2026

How to apply

To begin a new application form

1.  Click on the button below to begin a new application

Start a new application form today 

2.  Log in to CAF’s online grant making portal with your email address and a password (or click ‘new applicant’ to register if you have not previously used it).

3.  Complete a short series of eligibility questions.


To resume an existing application

To return to a partially completed or submitted form you will need to log in to your account at the grants portal by clicking below:

Return to an existing application

Important information

After successfully completing the eligibility questions, you can then access the full online application form to answer questions about your organisation and training, and upload the documents required.

If you wish to share your part-completed application with colleagues (e.g. to review it prior to submitting it), you can do so via the ‘email draft’ button on the top right hand corner of any page of the form, or print a draft at any time.

The application form can be saved; it does not need to be completed at one time. You can log back into the portal to complete it later.

Submit your application by Tuesday 14 November 2023.