An ambitious new base has been acquired by Waterford Marine Search and Rescue, a fully voluntary organisation that was founded in January 2010.
For the first time since they were set up the organisation has acquired a proper facility to operate out of and provide parking for other emergency vehicles that frequent Waterford during search and rescue operations.
Over the past couple of years volunteers only had access to the equivalent of a garden shed without even the most basic of facilities.
The new premises is around six thousand square feet over three storeys right at the rivers edge near Newtown/Park Road in Waterford city.
Chairperson Daryl Barry says the building is exactly what they were looking for:
“6 years ago we started out and we operated out of a seven foot wide by 20 foot long, I suppose, garden shed for all the world. And that’s where our 50 volunteers operated from for the last number of years.
We’ve been fundraising for a new search and rescue base for a number of years now and we are absolutely delighted to announce today that Waterford Marine Search and Rescue has purchased a new search and rescue base for the people of Waterford, city and county and the volunteers.
And this could not be made possible without the support of the people and businesses of Waterford city and South Kilkenny.”
The new base plans to have room for all the organisation’s equipment on the ground floor with training rooms, a family liaison room, a cctv monitoring room and rest areas on the upstairs levels including a kitchen, toilet and shower facilities.
The amount of work needed to get the facility up and running in an ideal world would take six months, but Daryl says they will need to fund raise for at least another €25,000 to achieve this.
They are also looking for assistance from tradesmen who are willing to volunteer their services.
“From a volunteering point of view from the Search and Rescue side we’re actually inundated, we have a backlog of people that we’re trying to get through.
But definitely over the coming weeks and coming months if people would just like to check us out on Facebook, on our website, we’ll be looking for plumbers, electricians and plasterers to come down and give us a hand.
If they would, we’d be absolutely grateful.”
To date Waterford Marine Search and Rescue hasn’t received any Government funding.
Daryl is optimistic that in the future they will receive some assistance.
“An investment like this, what we’ve done here in purchasing a new search and rescue base for the people of Waterford city, it’s the people of Waterford city again that has put their hands in their pockets, the businesses have put their hands in their pockets.
We haven’t seen any investment whatsover from local Government and by the looks of it throughout all of Ireland they don’t seem to be pushed on search and rescue organisations.
The work that we do, I’m sure we save them an awful lot of money and I would ask any of our local TDs to maybe contact us and see if there’s anything they can in relation to getting some funding. It’s €25,000, it’s not a whole lot of money considering the people of Waterford city and county and businesses has actually paid for the building.”
The volunteers on Suicide Prevention Patrols along the quays of Waterford City urge people to stay safe if you are out and about and to
never forget that the help is out there.
Samaritans: Freephone 116 123
Pieta House: 1800 247 247
Pieta House Waterford: 051 858510