Rutland and Leicestershire Army Responders win grant for new car

The Army First Responders team which is based at Kendrew Barracks, Cottesmore. Submitted.
The Army First Responders team which is based at Kendrew Barracks, Cottesmore. Submitted.

A team of soldiers based at Kendrew Barracks in Cottesmore who respond to 999 calls are getting a new vehicle which will help them attend incidents quicker after winning £5,000 from the Aviva Community Fund.

Rutland and Leicestershire Army Responders are a group of volunteers who work on behalf of East Midlands Ambulance Service. They currently use a compact Skoda Citigo car, which has very little signage and no blue light so it cannot legally exceed speed limits.

This week Aviva announced that the team had won £5,000 through its Community Fund scheme, which will pay for a year lease of a Skoda Octavia Estate which will have a blue light, ambulance colours and stickers.

Juliet Burgess-Ray, who is the only civilian member of the team, said: “When we get a call from the contact centre we are normally there behind everyone else because we cannot get there quickly enough.

“The blue light will allow us to weave around the traffic without breaking the law.”

She added road users often do not realise who the team as its current vehicle is “white and has no stickers on it”.

The Aviva Community Fund scheme was launched in September and saw groups across the country fight it out for funding through votes.

The car, which is painted in typical ambulance colours of of green, yellow and amber, is expected to be delivered to the team in a few weeks.

The team, which works across Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Rutland, are qualified to attend all types of incidents apart from road accidents.

But they will soon complete blue light training paid for from about £2,000 in donations from members of the public, which will qualify volunteers to attend road traffic accidents in their new Skoda Octavia.

Cash from the funding is also set to go towards new kit for the team including defibrillators as well as a website.

The responders, who are co-ordinated by Lee Pearce, are among 40 other winners in their category .

Volunteers work shifts most evenings and weekends .