UK Search and Rescue Volunteer Training Fund  

This fund is now closed and there will be no future grant application rounds under this programme.

The UK Search and Rescue Volunteer Training Fund aims to provide support for the costs of search and rescue volunteers' operational training, to help improve safety and the quality of UK search and rescue services.

Grant funding

Grants aim to support UK Search and Rescue (SAR) organisations with training costs for their volunteers during April 2024 to March 2026. Training must be a high priority to the organisation and must improve both the capability of the organisation, and reflect a proven need in the local area. We expect applications to prioritise identified training needs and 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

Skills cascade training, ‘Train the Trainer’ opportunities and cross-team collaboration, seeking to future-proof a team’s training needs, will also be viewed positively. But we recognise that this is useful but not always possible in every situation.

This will be the final round for the UKSAR Volunteer Training Fund as it has now been disbursed over several rounds since its launch in 2015. Grants for this round may be applied over a two-year period, from 1 April 2024 to 31 March 2026. Limited funds are available and, unfortunately, we may not be able to award full grants to all organisations that apply. We may make partial grants.

All training must be completed between 1 April 2024 and 31 March 2026. Successful applicants must report on their activities and the difference the grant made. Reports will be due 30 April 2026, but may be submitted earlier where activities are completed sooner.

Who can apply

UK charitable search and rescue 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



    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