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Volunteers in British mountain rescue: responding to increasing demand for rescues and a changed relationship with the state

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Mountain rescue (MR) teams in Britain are run entirely by volunteers. The number of MR callouts has increased, partly because teams are increasingly being used by the police in searches for missing people in non-mountainous areas. Most MR teams feel they are coping with the increased demand although some are becoming selective about which call-outs they respond to. A survey of MR team members and potential recruits reveals a mismatch between potential members' expectation of being engaged in MR and the reality of the increased work supporting non-mountain incidents. This illustrates a potential strain in the motivations of volunteers being used to deliver public services. This article explores how this is particular to the type of volunteering involved in MR, how teams have coped with the increased demand and how the increased use of MR teams is partly a response to changed police management practices.
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Keywords: MOUNTAIN RESCUE; PUBLIC SERVICE; VOLUNTEER; WORKFORCE PLANNING

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Email: [email protected] 2: Email: [email protected] 3: Email: [email protected] 4: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: July 2014

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  • Voluntary Sector Review publishes high-quality, peer-reviewed, accessible papers on third sector research, policy and practice. It is an invaluable cutting-edge resource for all those researching or working in the fast-growing voluntary, community and wider third sectors.

    The journal covers the full range of issues relevant to voluntary sector studies, including: definitional and theoretical debates; management and organisational development; financial and human resources; philanthropy; volunteering and employment; regulation and charity law; service delivery; civic engagement; industry and sub-sector dimensions; relations with other sectors; social enterprise; evaluation and impact. Voluntary Sector Review covers voluntary sector studies from a variety of disciplines, including sociology, social policy, politics, psychology, economics, business studies, social anthropology, philosophy and ethics. The journal includes work from the UK and Europe, and beyond, where cross-national comparisons are illuminating. With dedicated expert policy and practice sections, Voluntary Sector Review also provides an essential forum for the exchange of ideas and new thinking.

    Rigorous and stimulating, Voluntary Sector Review is an indispensable tool for everyone who values empirically-grounded, theoretically-informed and policy-relevant reviews of the future direction of the voluntary sector.

    Editors: Nick Acheson (Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland), Bernard Harris (University of Strathclyde, UK), Rob Macmillan, (University of Birmingham, UK)

    The journal is published in association with the Voluntary Sector Studies Network (VSSN) and a print copy of the journal is a membership benefit.

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