12th Feb 2020
Mountain rescue volunteers have received a technological boost to their safety equipment after a grant from the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland helped fund a drone.
The Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team (NNPMRT) – a voluntary emergency service to manage rural incidents and call-outs – received £4,916 from the Vattenfall Ray Wind Farm Small Grants Programme at the Community Foundation, supported by Vattenfall and the Ray Wind Fund CIC, who donate money to the rural communities.
The drone is now being actively deployed and six mountain rescue team members have completed two days of drone training, delivered by Drone Partners.
All passed the course and have since undergone their flight assessments to become qualified pilots.
Ninette Edwards, the mountain rescue team fund-raising officer and team member, explained: “Sending a drone down a steep-sided gorge or across a rocky area can identify the exact location of a casualty, as well as identifying risks to manage when sending out a search party.
"This grant from the Ray Wind Fund provided us with an invaluable asset which will ultimately save time and lives.”
Iain Nixon, team leader of the 45 NNPMRT volunteers, said: “One of the popular events we organise annually is the Cheviots Challenge which last year raised over £3,000 for our funds.
"The challenge is one of the most arduous annual hill endurance challenges in the county and mountain rescue volunteers will be able to use the drone as part of their rescue equipment.”
Peter Ramsden, chairman of the Ray Wind Fund Board, said: “We were delighted to help the NNPMRT, which is a vital part of rural life in our county, enabling adventurers and those who love a challenge to enjoy the great outdoors, in the knowledge that there is a skilled set of people equipped with the latest technology and ready to help in the event of difficulties.”
For more information about funding opportunities at the Community Foundation visit www.communityfoundation.org.uk/apply