Last month UKC and UKH Readers got behind the Mountain Rescue Services to help secure some much-needed funding via the NatWest CommunityForce scheme (more about the scheme here). Two of the MRT's we featured were successful in their bids due to the huge number of votes they received from UKC and UKH readers, and this in spite of the complex and protracted requirements of the voting system.
Richard Prideaux commented, "I can only speak for NEWSAR, but we are very happy to receive this £6,000 donation. As we are an organisation providing a 24/7 service we have a constant need for funds to keep the team operating, and this money will go straight into providing equipment and training for our team members. We are very thankful to all those people who have voted for North East Wales Search and Rescue, and to the Natwest Community Force project. UKClimbing and its forum members obviously gave us the final boost we needed."
Four other MRT's were unsuccessful in their bids this time round but hopefully, with slightly better timing, we can get behind all the MRT's at an earlier stage next time the NatWest scheme is in operation.
The difference between the two successful teams and the four that didn't win can almost certainly be put down to the timing of the campaigns on UKC and UKH.
It started on October 19th when I was approached by Richard Prideaux, deputy team leader of North East Wales Search and Rescue (NEWSAR), about getting some support on UKC and UKH for NEWSAR's bid. Richard was looking to run a Premier Post on the UKC/UKH Forums to see if he could get some votes. Instead of doing that we ran a full news report (here) which went live on the Wednesday. Voting finished on Monday 25th October so there was a bit of time pressure.
Richard also tipped off his colleagues at the Aberglaslyn Mountain Rescue Team (AMRT) and Dion Jones got in touch to supply some details about their campaign under the same scheme, but in a different region (ie. they weren't competing against each other).
Aberglaslyn Mountain Rescue Team
The initial report only mentioned these two MRT bids since we weren't aware of others at the time. Additionally, the voting appeared to only allow each person three votes so we were wary of adding more campaigns to dilute the vote. In the end it we discovered that there were two versions of the NatWest scheme - one for Scotland and one for the rest of the UK and you could have three votes on each. As it turned out there was also a nice split of 3 MRT's bidding in the south, and 3 in the north meaning UKC users could get 6 counting votes if they wished.
Sadly we were only able to put together the full report with all 6 MRT's listed on the Saturday morning, by which time 500 votes had been added to the NEWSAR and AMRT. Despite this extra publicity, a similar boost in the short time remaining wasn't possible for the other bids.
Dion Jones said, "Aberglaslyn MRT are over the moon in wining the NatWest Community Force Award. This will now enable us to start building our new base early in the new year. It will enable the Team to respond more efficiently to our ever increasing call outs. All our members are thankful to all those that have voted for the Aberglaslyn Team and also to NatWest for running the award. We feel that the forum members of UK Climbing definitely tipped the balance in our favour and allowed us to finish first in our area. Thank you all again for your much needed support."
For future reference, UKC will be happy to co-ordinate campaigns for mountain rescue team bids for schemes like this so please get in touch.