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) to support UK Search and Rescue (SAR) organisations with the training costs of their operational volunteers. Training must improve both the capability of the organisation and its volunteers, and reflect the proven operational need in the local area.

We will prioritise applications which focus on high quality operational search and rescue training. Due to the pressures faced by SAR teams during the pandemic, we are particularly interested in:

  • 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, limited funds are available and unfortunately we will not be able to award grants to all organisations which apply, however partial grants may be made.

All training must be completed between April 2022 and March 2023.

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.

If you are affiliated to one of these SAR bodies, you may wish to 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.

  • 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


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 show their activities are tasked by the relevant statutory authority or, for flood, are on the national or community asset register
  • provide this on a 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 (eg manikins or training defibrillators)
  • 75% of the costs of the training
  • Training costs incurred between April 2022 and March 2023

A breakdown of training costs must be provided. 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 75% of training costs. We encourage all SAR charities to develop a variety of sustainable ways to fund their training and therefore we require all applicants to commit 25% of the costs of training. This is a change from 80%/20% in previous years. 

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. 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 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 which are not directly 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
  • More than 75% of the total costs of the training
  • Costs to be incurred after 31 March 2023

Important: Before you apply

Application process

If previously funded through this scheme, applicants must have completed prior reporting requirements (ie, on what training was delivered or is planned between April 2020-March 2022).

All organisations must complete the online application form by the deadline. This asks for core information about your charity 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. We also ask how you will fund the required 25% 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 other publicly available information.

Umbrella organisation applicants must:

  • upload a list of training for each team covered by the grant request, with an appropriate breakdown of costs, along with a detailed narrative of what is needed and why
  • provide confirmation that each team is appropriately tasked by the relevant statutory authority or are on the national/community asset register
  • confirm that any grant will be allocated to the teams as agreed
  • confirm that you can report back on the use of the grant in due course


Individual team applicants must:

  • 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
  • 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
  • ensure that your records are up to date on the relevant Charity Commission site (England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland)
  • confirm that you have a bank account in the charitable organisation’s name
  • confirm that you can report back on the use of the grant in due course


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. 


  Online application form availability         

               Wednesday 15 September - Wednesday 27 October 2021 

Deadline for applications

Wednesday 27 October 2021

Notification of grant decisions

End of January 2022 

Grant payments 
April 2022

Training completed / grant spent
March 2023

 Reporting on impact of the grant
April 2023

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 Wednesday 27 October 2021.