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Foyle Search & Rescue £150,000 Funding Boost

3rd February 2022
Foyle Search and Rescue (From L-R): Stephen Twells, Minister Edwin Poots MLA, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Graham Warke, Gary Middleton MLA, Brian Óg Mullan
Foyle Search and Rescue (From L-R): Stephen Twells, Minister Edwin Poots MLA, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Graham Warke, Gary Middleton MLA, Brian Óg Mullan Credit: Mayor of DCSDC

Derry based Foyle Search and Rescue has welcomed a £150,000 boost from the Rural Community Rescue Scheme, Belfast Live reports. The charity, which saves countless lives of people in distress in the community every year, said the monies through the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs would be an "incredible step forward" for the organisation.

Foyle Search and Rescue is a registered, voluntary based search and rescue charity, operating in Derry in Northern Ireland. It was set up by local people in 1993 in response to the alarmingly high number of drownings in the river (30 within 18 months) and has adopted the role of preventing suicide and supporting families in the City. As an organisation, it works closely with other public and community bodies to improve the service that is provided on prevention, intervention, postvention and educational scales.

The volunteers are from the local community and selflessly give up hours of their personal time every week to help those in need. FSR patrols the river on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, identified peak times of need, from 9.30 pm to 3.00 am, engaging with people in distress, maintaining lifebelts and saving lives. It operates an emergency pager crew who are on call 24 hours a day. The volunteers also have a body recovery team who search for any person missing in the river and recover the body with the greatest dignity.

The river Foyle at nightThe river Foyle at night

The money will mean that the charity can purchase new sonar technology. The sonar team has been researching advances in their field for quite some time and has been specifically looking at multi-beam sonar technology in helping to improve our search capability as an organisation.

The news was revealed after SDLP MLA for Foyle, Mark H Durkan, asked Minister Edwin Poots about the funding. Mr Durkan said the money would be a "huge boost" to FSR and help them in their life-saving work. He said: “After stressing the importance of the work FSR do in our city and the need for additional funding to secure essential equipment I was delighted to have it confirmed that they will benefit to the tune of over £150,000 from the fund to support vital search and rescue teams. Since being established in 1993 FSR has saved countless lives of people in distress in our community. Their tireless volunteers give up huge amounts of their own time for training purposes and to monitor the River Foyle for anyone who might need assistance."

Betty Armstrong

About The Author

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down

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