Mourne Mountains Rescue Team in appeal to plug £400k gap to fund new base

The Mourne Mountains Rescue Team in action. Pic: FacebookThe Mourne Mountains Rescue Team in action. Pic: Facebook
The Mourne Mountains Rescue Team in action. Pic: Facebook
The Mourne Mountain Rescue Team is appealing for the public’s help to raise £400,000 to plug a gap in the funds needed to build their new base.

Spiralling costs have seen the amount needed to make the base a reality rise from £650,000 to an eyewatering £1,000,000.

In a post on social media the rescuers said that when they celebrated their 50th anniversary back in 2012, they identified that one of the key challenges to sustaining Mountain Rescue in the Mournes was the lack of a ‘fit for purpose’ base.

As such, they set out to find themselves a home.

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"Although we knew this was a big undertaking, little did we know how big!” they said.

“After identifying our exact needs and ultimately developing a specification, we set about trying to locate a site in the Newcastle area. During this process we were exceptionally fortunate to receive an offer of a site from Lidl adjacent to where they planned their new store.

“After much consultation and design work, assisted by Lidl, the scheme went forward for planning in 2017. Unfortunately, an objector ensured the process was disrupted and planning delayed. This was subsequently compounded by the pandemic.

“Even when the challenges of the pandemic were removed, the objector remained, causing continuous disruption.”

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Some seven years later after beginning the process, planning for the scheme was eventually approved.

"There are still some technicalities to overcome however we’re hopeful of no further delays,” they added.

“But… (there’s always a but!) the planning challenges to date have caused not just delays, but also a significant funding issue for the Team. The delays have meant that we have lost two grants worth £500,000 each, and have seen considerably inflated construction costs in the market.

"Consequently what started as a build cost of £650,000 has now increased to £1,000,000, something over which we have no control.

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“On the positive side, since we first announced our plans, you have been continuously donating with a level of generosity that humbles us. So much so, that in the 12 years since we started, we have accumulated a dedicated new build fund of just over £600,000.

“On the negative side, and you’ve probably already worked this out, we are almost £400,000 short of the likely project cost. With a real opportunity to get on-site in the not-too-distant future, we desperately need your support to help plug this shortfall.

"Our plan ‘A’ is to raise the funds and complete the build as intended without burdening the team with a significant debt. If plan ‘A’ fails we may need to look at alternatives, albeit none are ideal.

“We are beyond grateful for the support received to date and reluctant to ask for more but we do need more help if we are going to achieve the new base we set out to deliver 12 years ago.

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"Any help whatsoever from any source will be greatly received and take us a step closer to completing the project and establishing a rescue base for the region. Whilst we are appealing for your support we are still applying for grant support, but options are very limited at present and currently unreliable.”

Donation options can be found here: https://www.mournemrt.org/donate/

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