ISLAND search and rescue organisation WightSAR has been awarded a £16,000 grant by the Isle of Wight Foundation.

The money will be used to purchase new equipment including a high-resolution thermal imaging camera, outdoor waterproof clothing and three new laptops with the latest software linked to other regional emergency services.

The grant will also enable volunteers to undergo first responder training as well as training on the use of the latest search and rescue computer software.

WightSAR is one of seven charities to receive a share of around £80,000 in funding from the Isle of Wight Foundation this year.

Made up of the partners behind Island Roads, the foundation gives annual grants of between £3,000 and £16,000 to Island charities, good causes and organisations working to tackle social exclusion.

WightSAR is a voluntary organisation that assists Hampshire Constabulary and other agencies in searches for vulnerable missing people.

WightSAR chair, Dean Terrett, said: “Though we are volunteers, we need to provide the most efficient and professional service possible and this money will enable our volunteers to work even more effectively with all agencies.

“Island Roads has been a valuable supporter of WightSAR and this grant is fantastic news for our organisation and those who rely on us.”

Under the grant scheme, an Island Roads employee ‘sponsors’ the application from a group and then acts as a link to build an ongoing bond between the foundation and the recipient.

Steve Ambrose, Island Roads business manager and sponsor of the bid, said: “Everyone at Island Roads is aware of the fantastic work WightSAR carries out on the Island.

"When time is of the essence it is vital WightSAR volunteers have the equipment and training they need to effectively support the Island’s emergency services to locate people, often in very challenging circumstances.

“It is reassuring to know that when the worst happens, thanks to the support of the Isle of Wight Foundation, WightSAR will have the latest equipment it needs to continue its valuable work.”