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Rescue team helped by windfarm funds

Checking out the new drone.
Checking out the new drone.

Life-saving operations in remote parts of Northumberland have received a boost, thanks to funding from a windfarm’s community-benefits programme.

Northumberland Park Mountain Rescue Team has secured a £4,916 grant to purchase a drone and train up to six pilots to operate it.

It follows a successful application to the Ray Small Grants Programme, established by windfarm owner Vattenfall, and managed by the Community Foundation.

The Ray Wind Farm is a 16-turbine development situated on the Ray Estate, near Kirkwhelpington.

The mountain-rescue team will use the drone when looking for missing people lost in the mountainous terrain of Northumberland, as part of search and rescue operations.

Ninette Edwards, a volunteer for the Northumberland Park Mountain Rescue Team, said: “Emergency services drone operators are able to act fast, reducing search times, and are able to search difficult-to-access areas without risk to personnel.

“Thanks to support from the Ray Small Grants Programme, we now have an asset that has the potential to save lives.”

The Community Foundation is calling for voluntary and community groups, charitable organisations and social enterprises operating within 10km of the Ray Wind Farm to apply for its support.

The Ray Small Grants Programme at the Community Foundation will once again make individual grants between £500 and £10,000 a year, with grantees being awarded the cash donation based on the recommendations of a panel made up by members of the local community.

Applications for grants are open and will close on Sunday, October 14. For details, visit www.communityfoundation.org.uk/apply or call Pete Barrett on 0191 222 0945.