I am very pleased to share some positive news to start 2019. The team at Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA) has received just under £11,000 of Government funding that is being awarded to dozens of charities working to keep inland waterways around the country safe.
The funding is part of a £1 million Government package helping with the cost of new equipment to help volunteer search teams save lives more quickly and easily.
Throughout my time as Member of Parliament for the Forest of Dean I have always been supportive of the SARA team at Beachley and the lifesaving work they do, so I am delighted that they have been awarded this extra funding.
I understand that SARA intend to use the bulk of this money to fund replacement lifeboat drysuits at both Beachley and Sharpness, which are much needed.
My most recent visit to the SARA team’s Beachley headquarters was only last year, and I was fortunate to have a look at their latest equipment as well as taking to the Severn in one of their rescue boats.
SARA’s Beachley station is equipped with powerful marine radio communications and tracking equipment, enabling the control room staff to pin-point the location of rescue boats, vehicles and search teams during a callout.
SARA crew members are trained in boat, mud, land and swift-water rescue, and from their station at Beachley, they are well placed to cover the water from Sharpness in the north to Avonmouth and Cardiff in the south. The Rivers Avon, Usk, Monnow and Wye form part of their operational area.
SARA is one of 57 successful bids for the latest round of the rescue boat grant fund.
The Government is providing £5 million to support lifesaving charities keeping our waterways safe. The inshore and inland lifeboat grant scheme has provided £1 million for charities every year since 2014.
This has provided support to almost 100 search and rescue charities since 2014. The money has paid for 65 new boats, in addition to launch vehicles, rafts, safety gear and other costs to support rescue teams.
I wish the entire SARA team a safe and successful year ahead.