When Covid-19 began to sweep across the globe, RE:ACT Disaster Response (formerly Team Rubicon UK) quickly launched “Op RE:ACT” to support emergency frontline services and vulnerable communities throughout the UK. To support the 600 highly trained RE:ACT Responder volunteers, Mazda Motors UK supplied the disaster response charity with a fleet of vehicles to help with their life-saving work in combating the virus in the UK.
Working in collaboration with local groups, charities, UK Government and British Armed Forces, RE:ACT is a UK-based humanitarian charity that provides direct action in emergencies and crisis. Repurposing the hard skills and experience of military veterans, RE:ACT Responders have earned their reputation through international deployments to major natural disasters and emergency crisis operations in the UK; including an integral role during Covid-19 where Op RE:ACT deployed over 600 trained RE:ACT Responders and 5,000 military veterans to support the national effort.
Across the UK RE:ACT Responders and Regional Liaison Offers used the fleet of Mazda vehicles to travel to affected areas and based themselves within communities where they could make the greatest difference. Equipped with reliable transportation, the Regional Liaison Officers were able to safely integrate with Local Resilience Forums and local authorities to understand the local impact of Covid-19 and identify regional disparities.
Using their expertise in disaster response and situational awareness, the information gathered enabled RE:ACT to assess the dynamic situation across the UK and prioritise a number of critical tasks to protect local communities; including the provision of additional PPE items, essential welfare checks or delivering emergency food.
In total the Mazda vehicles covered almost 12,000 miles and supported 37 counties across the UK, with two Regional Liaison Officers, Mary Lockwood and Lizzy Stileman, making full use of the vehicles. Mary used a Mazda vehicle to travel across Lancashire liaising with local authorities, managing Covid-19 testing, working in care homes and attending regular Local Resilience Forum meetings. Lizzy was based at the British Army’s Standing Joint Command in Aldershot, Hampshire, working closely with the Army to support the voluntary and community response throughout the UK.
Having been previously deployed to multiple countries as a volunteer delivering aid – including last year in the Bahamas as part of the Hurricane Dorian relief effort – Lizzy, a 20-year veteran of the Royal Logistics Corps, was no stranger to disaster responses in challenging environments. Using the information from Local Resilience Forums and identifying local tasks, Lizzy provided a critical link between the Military response to Covid-19 and RE:ACT, and was later honoured an MBE for services to Incident Response and charitable service during Covid-19. In addition, RE:ACT Operation Manager, Paul Taylor was also awarded an MBE for services to Humanitarian Support during Covid-19.
“The essential element of any successful humanitarian action is collaboration and this has proved during the Covid-19 response to be as essential in the UK as in international response operations” commented Paul Taylor, RE:ACT Operations Manager. Adding, “Mazda has been extremely helpful and enabled RE:ACT to focus on its humanitarian work, saving money and time and taking considerable stress and pressure off our Responders so they didn’t have to worry about their transport and could focus on the task at hand.”
Since March 2020, RE:ACT has distributed 10.1 million PPE items, supported and delivered 3.1 million meals, conducted 4,400 welfare checks, cared for 2,700 deceased, facilitated 3,700 Covid-19 tests, completed 121 live critical tasks and supported 37 counties across the UK. RE:ACT is currently on task in Solihull and Nottingham distributing home testing kits and expect to be heavily involved with community response throughout the second Covid-19 wave.