Melvin wins grant to travel the world and learn about improving emergency situation reactions

MELVIN Hartley has been given the opportunity to travel the globe researching ways to deal with large numbers of volunteers in emergency situations.

Monday, 18th March 2019, 5:43 pm
Updated Monday, 18th March 2019, 5:46 pm
Water being sprayed on Grenfell Tower after the fire at the tower block Picture: Rick Findler/PA Wire

Melvin, a local authority safety and resilience manager from Portsmouth, will be able to travel for four to eight weeks exploring techniques the UK can use during crisis situations - such as the Grenfell Tower fire.

Melvin secured a Churchill Fellowship, which receives over 1,800 applicants, and is one of 150 who were successful.

During the first half of his trip Melvin will be spending four weeks in America, visiting Georgia, Texas, and California - exploring how these states deal with spontaneous volunteers during major emergencies.

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Churchill Fellow Melvin Hartley

Spontaneous volunteers are those that offer their services and provide support alongside emergency services.

He said: ‘These volunteers, as helpful as they are, can often become a risk in themselves. It’s important to make sure they remain safe in dangerous situations.’

The second part of Melvin’s fellowship will take him to Holland and Germany - focusing on how to convert spontaneous volunteers to permanent volunteers, as opposed to waiting for emergency situations to arise.

He added: ‘It’s a real privilege and an honour to be chosen out of so many applicants. They’ve been running the fellowship since 1965 so over 5000 people have gone in front of me, so I’ve got big shoes to fill.’

The fellowship, named after Sir Winston Churchill, aims to explore the best global practice in issues facing Britain today, and bring back global insights to improve communities and professions in the UK.

After travelling the Churchill Fellowship requires a full report on what Melvin has learnt, how these methods can benefit the UK, and how they can be implemented across the country.

Melvin, who works for Eastleigh Borough Council, was drawn to his current career seven years ago while working in crime and disorder at London Borough of Suffolk.

During the 2012 Summer Olympics Melvin was responsible for the management of a 24/7 emergency planning team.

Chief executive of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (WCMT) said: ‘Churchill Fellows are inspiring individuals who scour the world for fresh approaches to today’s critical issues.’

An average grant of £6,000 is awarded to each fellow, which is used to fund their travel.