Helping Hands

4 Oct 2023 09:59
Published by: Scott Callan

Good neighbours: The first group of emergency volunteers (photo credit Bolton Council)

THE first group of Bolton Community Emergency Volunteers have been recruited ready to provide vital support in response to major incidents across the borough.
The BCEVs are trained to help with evacuations as well as giving general humanitarian and communication support to reassure the public during floods, severe weather, or other crisis events.
The programme has been set up following lessons learned during the Covid-19 pandemic and the May 2021 floods that hit Horwich and Lostock– events which saw people turn out to help their neighbours in a crisis.
Bolton Council, in partnership with Bolton CVS and the Greater Manchester Resilience Forum, has been working to train BCEVs across the borough, ready to support the emergency services when needed.
Similar emergency volunteer teams are being set up across the country to help local responders.
It has been recognised that the local knowledge, lived experience and the expertise of volunteers across communities is vital in helping people to prepare and respond to emergency events in their area.
Richard Silvester is Bolton Council’s executive cabinet member for climate change and environment, responsible for civil contingencies. He said: “We know that when emergencies happen there are many people keen to support their community but are not always sure how best to help.
“This new group of Bolton Community Emergency Volunteers will mean that community and voluntary capabilities are better understood and integrated into resilience and emergency management activities.
“It was inspiring to meet all the volunteers and hear about their own experiences, and I would like to give a sincere thank you to all on behalf of the council.”
Andrew, one of the first emergency volunteers, said: “I’m retired now so I volunteer as I was keen to share my career skills as I used to manage buildings and be responsible for health and safety.
“I was keen to get involved in the emergency volunteers programme so I could share some of this expertise and learn more about the services and processes involved in responding to emergencies in Bolton. I have learned so much on the training programme and have also been able to share my experiences with others and make new friends.”
To find out more about becoming a BCEV, email

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