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Mountain Rescuers Get Bags of Help Funding Boost

Nobody knows better than Cumbrian locals just how important the mountain rescue groups are in times of crisis. But now Duddon and Furness Mountain Rescue Team (DFMRT) are saying thanks to Tesco customers who voted for them to receive Tesco’s Bags of Help funding.

Entirely run by volunteers, the Duddon and Furness Mountain Rescue Team (DFMRT) was picked by Tesco shoppers in the area to receive a £4,000 grant from the supermarket; put towards group training sessions in search and rescue activities for volunteers.

The DFMRT help across a large area covering Ravenglass, Cartmel, the Duddon Valley, Millom and the westerly Furness Peninsulas and the volunteer organisation’s team leader David Binks says he is “extremely grateful” that local shoppers chose their group to receive the funding.

He comments: “Given the nature of the job at hand, we run sessions to ensure our members are fully trained and available 24/7, whenever the community needs us to keep them safe; whether that’s on the fells or in urban and rural areas. We have a membership of about 40, which includes about 35 active members, and 5 probationers who undertake a year’s training before joining the active list.

“As a result, we’re very much reliant on our volunteers, however the training and equipment is an unavoidable expense. That’s why donations and grants from individuals and organisations such as Tesco are crucial.

Martin Cooper, the team’s fundraising officer, comments: “During a typical year we’ll undertake team training, usually for a full day and a couple of evenings each month, as well as training for smaller groups, such as swift water and winter training.

“To get maximum benefit, the courses usually involve a weekend away which brings with it the added expense of accommodation, transport and catering costs. This is where the Bags of Help funding has really come into play.”

He continues: “In an ideal world, our services wouldn’t be required. However the reality is that we’re regularly called out for a wide variety of incidents, which puts our medical, mountaineering, driving and communication skills through rigorous testing – all of which must be maintained to the highest level.”

Martin concludes: “As well as the financial benefit the Tesco grant brought with it, it has been incredibly touching to know that the local community really appreciate what we do and have voted for us in such numbers.  In return, we’re committed in standing-by to support them in any way that we can!”

Keith Jackson, Bags of Help Scheme Manager, said: “It’s really excellent to see communities come together, as they have done in South West Cumbria, to support organisations like the DFMRT, which plays a vital role in keeping communities safe.”

“We’re very proud of the impact Bags of Help has had in recent years in mobilising and bringing together communities across Britain. The funding scheme responds to the needs of local communities, which was why DFMRT was included in the initial round and I’m sure why they were picked to receive the funding by our customers.”

Bags of Help has awarded over £80 million in grants to over 27,000 community projects all over the UK, since launching in October 2015.

Earlier this month, Tesco announced its plan to provide a £30million package of support to local communities with a £500 grant available for local groups in the North West.

Tesco’s CEO Dave Lewis outlined the plans to provide £30million of support for local communities including £25million in food donations.

In a step to further help local communities, a £2million Bags of Help COVID-19 Community Fund has been created which aims to support as many groups as possible across the country with grants of £500. This includes, but is not limited to, women’s refuges, foodbanks, hospices, homeless charities, social isolation groups, schools, and charities supporting the elderly and local authorities. The application and payment process is simple to provide support quickly to these important causes.

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