Beds & Cambs 4×4 Response (BC4x4R) was separated from the Beds, Herts, Cambs Land Rover Club in early 2017 and shortly after the committee successfully obtained Charity status in September 2017 after several months hard work. Since September the committee have been working full steam ahead to assist and obtain new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) contracts with multiple organisations and emergency services.
The charity aims to aid the Emergency Services and Local Authorities in the event of adverse weather such as flooding, snow, ice or any other emergency where specialist four wheel drive vehicles are required.
The charity is composed entirely of volunteers and receives no government or local authority funding other than reimbursement of mileage (as laid out through a memorandum of understanding between the organisation and BC4x4R). The response team operate through the use of multi-skilled and experienced 4×4 owners who volunteer their services and personal vehicles, equipped to deal with the incidents we may be called upon, free of charge*. We support our volunteers training through social events, dedicated training days and leader training, as well as more classroom based 4×4 Response focussed sessions around on and off road driving, navigation and recovery, flood training etc.
Please note that we are not an emergency service or recovery operator however we aim to provide a reliable, 24x7x365 service when other support entities are at full stretch or otherwise unavailable.
How often are we used?
In Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire, there are not too many calls on our services as it is a generally flat area that does not see much adverse weather unlike other counties within England and the United Kingdom, with Councils and Emergency services having some of their own 4×4 abilities (but these will be limited). We do however get calls and have previously been a critical component of the support provided to local communities on multiple occasions.
As part of the wider national network, we can be called upon to provide assistance to neighbouring 4×4 Response organisations during large scale and longer term deployments such as the Whaley Bridge Dam emergency in August 2019.
The majority of calls we respond to when requested by the Local Authority and other organisations fall into several categories and some of which may only be applicable in adverse weather conditions:
– Charity Event Support/Marshalling/Logistics.
– Transport of essential Medical Staff during adverse weather.
– Assistance to Vulnerable Persons either through local Search and Rescue teams or British Red Cross.
– Ferrying persons or loads to remote locations during Incidents.
– Meals on Wheels deliveries.
– Recovery of stranded vehicles (for example, stuck in snow or flooding).
– Assistance at Road Traffic Collisions.
– Ambulance and other vehicle recoveries during bad weather or at events.
– Traction Assist for Events where ground conditions result in difficult driving conditions i.e. muddy fields, standing flood water, snow covered roads etc.
In addition we also support (and have previously supported) other volunteer organisations such as:
– Midshires Search & Rescue
– Keech Hospice
– Santa Pod Raceway
– Bedfordshire Local Emergency Volunteers Executive Committee (BLEVEC)
– Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue Service
– Bedfordshire Police
– Cancer Research UK
Who are we?
We are a classed as a Highland and Lowland Urban Support Unit.
This translates as a specialist transport unit in support of those experts who require specialist 4×4 vehicles and experienced drivers; or where transportation of persons or goods out of danger are required.
What is the national umbrella charity 4×4 Response UK?
4×4 Response operates at two distinct levels. Nationally it is called 4×4 Response and it acts as an umbrella organisation supporting the teams.
The National organisation is a point of contact for any national issues / questions / proposals, i.e. anything which affects all teams. It is constituted as a charity with a group of trustees elected by its members (the member teams and any individuals who have individual membership at a national level).
Regionally each team is run day-to-day autonomously and will be named regionally (e.g. Beds & Cambs 4×4 Response etc.)
This is where the work happens, team members are trained within their teams, and it is the team which builds relationships within its area with user bodies such as the police and ambulance services. The team is called out by the user body.
4×4 Response does not operate its services nationally, where there is a need for a national callout, such a call out then goes from the national level to each relevant team, the teams deploy and work together.
Over the years, and across the UK there have been groups set up by volunteers owning 4x4s and offering a service to their local community. Members of these groups have used their vehicles to support the Emergency Services, Local Council Emergency Planning Departments and other volunteer organisations in times of poor weather, emergency or other times of need. Some have been active for many years, others are still forming.
In 1999, 4×4 Response was first established in Norfolk to provide local community support. One of its key aims was to promote the 4×4 Response concept across the country. Through its website and attendance at shows, information was passed and other 4×4 Response specific groups were formed across the UK. In 2005, it was suggested that these links were developed into a more formal Association which could assist the development of the Volunteer 4×4 Response concept across the country. In 2006, the 4×4 Response Network was renamed Norfolk & Suffolk 4×4 Response and the simpler name was used to form a National identity.
Throughout 2006 a steering committee and several sub-committees, consisting of members from groups in Northern, Southern and Eastern England, Scotland and Wales, used the web to discuss and establish the criteria for 4×4 Response Groups across the nation.
In 2008, after considerable growth in the regions with 500 members involved in their local teams the National organisation was formalised and established as an umbrella charity.
The original concept was not lost and in 2008 moves started to put the Network on a more formal footing with a legal entity and charitable status, at that point there were seven operational groups across the country. As the organisation has become more formalised over the years, so the underlying structure has evolved. In the Autumn of 2008, 4×4 Response became a registered charity, acknowledging the voluntary and charitable work done by the organisation.
Since then the movement has continued to expand and now comprises 31 member groups and one other “aligned” group, that cover the whole of England, Wales and the Isle of Man; in Scotland all but two counties are covered.
Click here to visit the national website where you can find more information about the network and other groups from across the country.
Our Mission Statement:
To preserve and protect human life and property by supplementing and supporting emergency services, statutory bodies and other organisations as deemed appropriate by the trustees, in particular but not exclusively by providing 4x4 vehicles and drivers.