Each year we receive more requests for assistance and as a result we are always looking for new responders to join the team.
All you need to join the Response Team is a four-wheel drive vehicle, enthusiasm, some basic items of equipment to carry with you on calls, and to live or work in or near Northamptonshire. We’ve answered the most common questions below, but the best way to find out more is to come and talk to us. Details of where to find us can be found at the bottom of the page.
What is Northants 4×4 Response? Is it a club?
We’re not a club, and if you’re looking for green lane tours, pay & play days or trips away then you might like to join Northants4x4.com instead.
We are a Charity, and we exist to help people across the county by supporting the emergency and essential services with four-wheel drive vehicles and willing volunteers. We also support various events during the summer, where our skills in logistic support, map reading, communication and teamwork help the event’s organisers to setup, run and dismantle the show as part of their team.
Do I need a modified vehicle? Winch? Snorkel?
No – as long as it has full four-wheel drive and can carry either people or equipment safely, there’s a place for it in the team. Standard 4x4s, four-wheel drive family cars, and modified vehicles are all welcome: We will ensure that you are sent on calls that are suitable for your vehicle.
You mentioned items of equipment: What do I need?
As you will often be out in adverse weather, you should carry equipment to help keep you safe and warm, including warm clothing, maps, tow-rope, torch, first-aid kit, notepad and pen. We will give you a photo ID card, which you must carry on call-outs, a high visibility vest and stickers for your vehicle to identify it as a 4×4 Response vehicle.
What about insurance? Do I need to tell my insurance company?
Yes – you will need to tell your insurer that you are using your vehicle for voluntary work, and many insurers will allow you to do this with no additional premium. The ABI has published information for Volunteer Drivers.
You will also be covered by our public liability insurance or that of our service user, but this does not cover your vehicle. You will need a full driving licence with no more than six penalty-points, your vehicle must be taxed, insured and either have a valid MOT or be exempt (we will ask to see proof of these when you join).
You are also covered by our personal injury insurance whilst on duty.
Do I get paid?
All our responders, dispatchers and controllers are volunteers, but you are able to claim mileage expenses (45ppm) on most call-outs. On longer calls you may also receive a subsistence allowance so you can get some hot food. We can also guarantee you a feeling of warm satisfaction knowing people are safe, well fed and looked after thanks to your efforts.
There are also other benefits available to our volunteers such as the Blue Light Discount Card scheme, and nationwide digital mapping.
What is my commitment?
You are free to commit as much or as little time as you are able and, whilst we hope our members will make themselves available when the call comes, we appreciate that work, family or other commitments may mean you are sometimes unable to turn-out.
We do ask that where possible you take part in training programmes or exercises, and we will give as much notice of these as possible. Call-outs can happen any time: during the week, in the evenings and at weekends. We particularly need people who are available during the working week.
There is a one-off joining fee of £25 to help towards the cost of providing equipment, our public liability insurance and administration costs, with a £15 annual membership fee in subsequent years.
How will I be called? Do I need to carry a pager?
We use a web and text-message based system to relay messages and alert responders to stand-by or call-out situations. Please ensure we have your current mobile phone number so that we can both alert you, and keep in touch with you during call-outs so we can look after your welfare.
What sort of call-outs can I expect?
We have a number of organisations that use our services, mostly in the healthcare sector. We are often asked to drive nurses or carers on their house-calls, deliver meals-on-wheels, transport key members of staff to or from hospitals, control rooms etc., and we also work with the Police, ambulance and fire services.
During the Covid pandemic we have been working with the County Council to deliver food packs and prescriptions, as well as carrying out ‘safe & well’ checks.
We are part of the Northamptonshire Emergency Response Corps (NERC) and work in partnership with many other voluntary organisations in the county.
How do I find out more? Where can I meet you?
Owing to the ongoing Covid pandemic our monthly meetings are currently suspended, but normally we meet on the first Wednesday of the month at Overstone Manor, Ecton Lane, Sywell, and everyone is welcome.
It’s snowing! Can I join you now?
Whilst we are always willing to take on new members, when it’s snowing or we are deployed for other reasons we are concentrating on the task at hand and are unable to process membership applications, issue kit or deliver the induction training at the same time. Sorry.
But if you contact us or complete the application form we will get back to you when we can.
OK, so how do I join?
To volunteer with us you need to:
- Join the Northants4x4.com forum, which is free, and make three posts.
- Complete the membership form, which can be found here.
- Meet with a trustee and bring your driving licence, insurance, MOT and road tax documents with you. You will also need to pay the joining fee of £25.
- Attend an induction training session.
Your ID card, welcome pack and equipment will be issued soon after your membership has been confirmed.
We look forward to welcoming you to the team!