A life-saving team of volunteers has been awarded more than £7,400 to buy equipment and keep Dorset residents safe.

The Department for Transport announced yesterday that the Wessex Flood Rescue Unit (WFR) has been successful in their bid for the Rescue Boat Grant Fund.

The Dorset-based team have been awarded £7,423.20 which will purchase a new engine, an operational engine tool and repair kit and a spare propeller plus specialist personal protective equipment and thermal insulation to keep volunteers dry and warm on deployment or training exercises.

Unit manager, Sam Bailey said: "We are extremely happy to be awarded funding from the Department for Transport Rescue Boat Grant Fund. This grant will enable WFR to provide lifesaving assets to the UK in the event of flooding and also for search and rescue in the local area."

WFR, which is associated with national governing body charity Surf Life Saving GB (SLSGB), is made up of highly-trained volunteers and acts as an auxilliary force, working alongside blue light services, to save lives and mitigate damage during floods.

The team was deployed to aid emergency services in rescue efforts during the floods that struck Cumbria in 2015.

The unit consists of approximately 35 volunteers from Dorset communities making it the biggest Flood Rescue Unit affiliated to SLSGB.

WFR was created in response to the coastal and flash flooding devastation seen in 2013 and the volunteers are from local lifesaving clubs, most are qualified Lifeguards.

The unit has an agreement with Dorset Local Resilience Forum to be called upon locally to deploy in the event of flooding.

WFR is one of 17 independent search and rescue teams in the south west, and 57 in the UK that will benefit from the £1million total grant.

The Rescue Boat Grant Fund was launched in 2014 to provide £5million over five years to independent search and rescue teams working on inland waterways.

Maritime Minister, Nusrat Ghani said: “Our rescue boat teams are the unsung heroes of the UK’s waterways. Their commitment and skill keeps people safe on and around our rivers, lakes and inshore areas.

“Lives have been saved as a result of this scheme and our additional funding will ensure that these tireless volunteers and charities can buy the craft, equipment, and other resources they need to provide vital round-the-clock services."