Voluntary Organisations


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St John Ambulance

We are the charity that steps forward in the moments that matter, to save lives and keep communities safe. All our charitable work is entirely funded by donations, and we are a market leader in the provision of workplace training, first aid supplies and ambulance services. Whether it's responding to a national disaster or an individual medical emergency, St John people form a vital part of the nation's emergency response system. We work on the front line, alongside the emergency services, and are always on hand to offer assistance and support to those in need. We respond quickly providing vital help for: major emergencies, road accidents, weather incidents and fires. We also work with other charitable, voluntary, and statutory organisations to provide a high-quality service through Local Resilience Forums.

Community Action Network

Community Action Network (CAN) is a charity that provides professional and practical support to organisations working within the voluntary and community sector in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, as we want to see these communities healthy, diverse, vibrant and flourishing. Our mission is to empower the voluntary sector, enable volunteering and involve communities, and we believe that together, we CAN make a difference.

We provide professional expertise, practical services and a platform for promoting and sharing volunteering opportunities. We help groups set up, speak up on their behalf to ensure they have a say in the local community, support them to network, and give them the tools and knowledge they need to grow and thrive.

Volunteer Centre Dorset

At the Volunteer Centre, we are passionate about all things volunteering! Whether you are looking for a fulfilling voluntary role, or need volunteers for your organisation, we can help.

Our work is focused around the ambition to offer Leadership, Inspiration, Facilitation and Expertise, or LIFE, to those throughout Dorset who wish to volunteer.

The aim of the Volunteer Centre is to support individuals find rewarding volunteering opportunities and help them through this role. We also help charitable organisations gain volunteers and support them in looking after their volunteers, whether this is through general guidance or offering training courses to the organisation and their volunteers.

Wessex 4x4 Response

We are a charity staffed entirely by volunteers, providing emergency logistics support in times of need.

We are typically tasked either by the emergency services or local authorities, and are used to provide transport of people and equipment in our own vehicles, as well as numerous other tasks.

We have roles available for all ages and abilities, ranging from 4x4 drivers and crew members through to the back office control team. If you're interested in finding out more about how to use your 4x4 to make a real difference to your community, please go to our website and come along to one of our monthly social team meetings to find out more.

Wessex Flood Rescue

Wessex Flood Rescue

We are a volunteer group associated to the National Governing Body Charity Surf Life Saving Great Britain (SLSGB); a charity that teaches water rescue, water safety and life saving techniques. The services the unit provides are a nationally accredited flood rescue response Type B team that complies with the DEFRA and the Fire and Rescue Service National Coordination Centre (FRSNCC)  standards, to work alongside the blue light services in times of threat to the communities to respond to flooding.  The unit consists of approx. 35 volunteers from the local communities of Poole, Branksome Chine, Southbourne, Christchurch and Bournemouth, Dorset has the biggest Flood Rescue Unit affiliated to SLSGB.   The Unit was created in response to the coastal and flash flooding devastation seen in 2013 and most members are qualified Lifeguards.

Wessex Flood Rescue website

Please note this will open a Facebook page and you will need a Facebook login to view more information

Dorset Search and Rescue logo


Dorset Search & Rescue (DorSAR) are a charity, entirely staffed by volunteers, who provide specialist search capabilities to Dorset Police. DorSAR search for people at a time when they are at their most vulnerable. DorSAR currently has over 100 members providing cover for the county of Dorset (and neighbouring counties when requested by sister teams) and they all work tirelessly. 

DorSAR has a particular shortage of support volunteers who are able to assist the charity with non-operational tasks, such as administrative processes, writing grant applications, fundraising, and raising the profile of the organisation. Currently, much of this falls onto the shoulders of our operational members, who already dedicate a significant amount of time to searching and training. 

DorSAR website

(please note the above link will open a Facebook page and you will need a Facebook login to view more information).


The Radio Amateurs’ Emergency Network is the UK’s national voluntary communications service provided for the community by licensed radio amateurs.

RAYNET was formed in 1953 following the severe East coast flooding, to provide a way of organising the valuable resource that Amateur Radio is able to provide to the community.

Since then, it has grown into a very active organisation with around 2000 members, providing communication assistance on many hundreds of events each year.

Amateur Radio operators have access to a wide range of radio bands, operating modes and equipment which allows RAYNET to offer a unique range of emergency communication services to our user services. Coupled with our members endless resourcefulness, RAYNET is regarded as a professional support organisation by both the statutory and volunteer emergency service organisations.

National Association of Blood Bikes

The National Association of Blood Bikes provides free out of hours medical transportation services to the NHS.  The Association transports donated blood and blood products to both hospitals and air ambulances through the UK, the UK network of members all support their local NHS trusts in addition to transporting donated breast milk to poorly premature babies on behalf of the NHS.

The local Blood Bikes group for Dorset is based in Yeovil, Somerset.  To ride for any Blood Bikes group, you must be over 25 years of age, hold a full unrestricted motorcycle licence and have had no recent “at fault” accidents. You must also hold a recognised advanced riding qualification such as IAM or ROSPA. If you are working towards an advanced qualification you can still join as a non-rider. We always need people to help in non-riding positions such as admin, fundraising, publicity or garage maintenance to mention a few. These essential support positions enable the group to provide the reliable service that is valued by hospitals and patients alike. YFW Blood Bikes is a registered charity, number 299434

Victim Support

Victim Support (VS) is the leading independent charity dedicated to supporting victims of crime and traumatic events in England and Wales.  Our purpose is to provide specialist support to help people cope and recover to the point where they feel they are back on track with their lives.  


Our service is free, confidential and available to anyone affected by crime or traumatic events, regardless of whether it was reported or how long ago it happened.   Our specialist teams deliver tailored support and work closely with the agencies of the criminal justice system and other organisations to ensure victims get the support the need and the respect they deserve.

Team Rubicon UK

Team Rubicon’s chiefly ex-military volunteers earned their spurs in hostile, character-testing environments. Today, they deliver life-saving aid both at home or abroad.

Every “Greyshirt” volunteer, whether a veteran or civilian, brings grit, determination and hard-won experience to our humanitarian mission. 

Because we can make a difference, we believe we must. It’s how we are built. Being part of the Team Rubicon TRibe guarantees that those facing their darkest hour receive the help they need to begin rebuilding their lives. Team Rubicon UK is looking for skilled and capable people, just like you, to join our community of volunteers.

No prior experience of disaster response is required, just an enthusiastic approach, strong desire to help others and a willingness to get stuck in, no matter what the task. Isn’t it time you joined them?

UK Civil Air Patrol

The SW England Area of the Civil Air Patrol consists of a small group of pilots who either own or have access to light aircraft including microlights.  They offer  to fly their aircraft in support of the Blue Light services, the Civil Powers, other charities, and individuals for the benefit of the community, and especially to save life. We can do aerial observation, aerial photography both still and video and can fly officials to see for themselves ground incidents from the air.


We need additional experienced pilots with regular access to aircraft to join us. Also a few volunteers ate needed to train as observers. Their task is to to fly with the pilots to assist  with navigation and lookout and to operate cameras..  We also need a few people to help with organisation on the ground.

Coastguard Rescue Service

The Coastguard Rescue Service is a voluntary organisation consisting of 380 Coastguard Rescue Teams strategically located around the coast of the UK.

Each team and its members are provided with search and rescue equipment, protective clothing and uniform appropriate to the team’s rescue role.

Team members, known as Coastguard Rescue Officers, are trained to a very high level in a wide range of capabilities specifically for the local coastal environment and the communities they live and work in.

British Red Cross

The British Red Cross responds to an emergency in the UK approximately every four hours. The charity and its volunteers support rest centres and provide safe spaces where they offer emotional and practical support. Every year it helps around half a million people in the UK to prepare for, respond to and recover from a crisis such as house fires, floods and evacuations.

For information about our services, training and volunteer opportunities, please go to  www.redcross.org.uk

Community Reserve Volunteers help their local community during a major emergency. They form a network of like-minded people who the British Red Cross can call upon when we need additional support during an emergency.

This role is perfect for people who want to do their bit but do not wish to commit to regular volunteering. No specialist skills are required and when an emergency strikes in your area you can choose whether to volunteer with us or not.

For more specific information and to sign up; reserves.redcross.org.uk

Water Search and Rescue

The Water Search and Rescue Team is a voluntary organisation consisting of national rescue teams strategically located around the UK.

Our units are given water search and rescue equipment and medical equipment, protective uniform appropriate to the team's role.

We have roles available for all abilities. If you're interested in making a real difference, please find us on social media and go to our website to register.

Rotary Club UK

Rotary International is a voluntary organisation, consisting of members of Clubs in towns and cities throughout the UK.

The Rotary Foundation is the second largest charity in the world, but Rotary is Club based - each Club, with memberships of all ages and genders (including many couples), works in their communities to raise funds by holding major events so that 100% of the funds raised goes to causes within the local community.

Rotary and Inner Wheel have the skills and experience to aid the management of evacuation centres and spontaneous volunteer reception centres.

Membership has a low cost and all are welcome. Our motto is 'Service before Self' and any Rotarian will tell you how much fun they have; they enjoy the fellowship and many friendships they have formed. Every Club is socially active; they all say - 'I am putting something back and having fun too'.

To enquire and to join, go to our website - rotary.org/en/about-rotary.

In addition, a large number of Rotarians are working in the training and planning for Rotary to support the Civil Authorities alongside partnered voluntary organisations in specific roles, when emergencies occur.

Churches Together in Dorset

Churches Together in Dorset is the intermediate ecumenical body for the County of Dorset, England, including the Boroughs of Bournemouth and Poole. It is in association with Churches Together in England and serves the churches and local ecumenical groups throughout its area.


The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is a denomination of the Christian Church, with a strong social conscience, seeking to alleviate distress wherever it is found and is able to fulfil a crucial role during and after a major emergency.

Potentially The Salvation Army can respond to emergencies in the following ways:

  • Providing on site refreshments and emotional support to responders and those affected by the  incident
  • Providing support to individuals at any designated Rest Centre or Humanitarian Assistance Centre
  • Providing support to family members and friends at an Emergency Mortuary Viewing Area and acting as the conduit for relevant faith support
  • Providing personnel to assist at any Support Helpline set up following an emergency

The Salvation Army has access to support internationally in over 100 countries.

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