Volunteer lifesavers in a remote rural area of North Wales are appealing for new recruits after being equipped with vital Wi-Fi radios to keep in touch thanks to cash from Brenig Wind Ltd.
The Uwchaled First Responders, who cover the upper reaches of the Conwy Valley around Cerrigydrudion, have just received a grant of £835 from from the Brenig Wind Farm Fund to keep them on air with a new radio licence.
The Fund, administered by rural regeneration agency Cadwyn Clwyd, is releasing a further £80,000 which will take the amount distributed in three years to over half a million pounds.
They are looking for more community groups across rural Conwy and Denbighshire to apply for the grants with the closing date for applications on November 18.
The Brenig Wind Farm Fund is set to provide almost £4 million over 25 years for communities in the qualifying area and Brenig Wind Ltd’s Owen Turner said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity for rural communities to benefit.
“Cadwyn Clwyd has already distributed over £470,000 to over 70 different local projects in seven rounds of funding to community groups for a range of different projects and helped them leverage even more.
“The applications will go before a locally-based grants panel who will make the final decisions on where and how the money is spent.”
The funding for the Wi-Fi radio is vital to the team of locally-based volunteers, who are trained in life-saving skills, including the use of defibrillators, by the Welsh Ambulance Service, and on call 24/7.
They can’t depend on mobile phones in a region where the signal can be sporadic at best and often non-existent so the team members rely on radios to speak to each other and the cash has given them a lifeline as they appeal for more recruits to bolster their vital service.
Organiser and veteran responder Tomos Hughes, from Pentrellyncymmer, near Cerrigydrudion, who has received the British Empire Medal for his work as a volunteer for the First Responders, said: “We do desperately need more volunteers here to cover the area which is very extensive and very rural.
“We cover almost to Corwen and Bala in the south and either side of the A5 past Pentrefoelas and towards Llanrwst so it is a large area and when the Beast from the East came in we had to use a four-wheel drive vehicle to respond.
“But it is very rewarding and we cover all sorts of incidents from trips and falls to serious cardiac emergencies and if we can get there quickly we can really make a difference.”
Applications for the next round of funding are due by November 18, and organisations in rural Conwy and Denbighshire are being invited to send their applications in.
The eligible area stretches from St Asaph in the north to Maerdy, near Corwen, in the south and from the River Clwyd in the east across the Denbigh Moors to Cerrigydrudion and the upper reaches of the Conwy Valley – a map of the area that benefits is on the Cadwyn Clwyd website.
It is funded by Brenig Wind Ltd whose 16 wind turbines can be seen turning on the Mynydd Hiraethog horizon to generate over 37.6 megawatts of power – enough to power over thirty thousand homes a year.
So far the fund has helped fund bowling greens at Denbigh and Llansannan, a kitchen in Bylchau Memorial Hall, laptops and iPads for an after-school club in Cerrigydrudion, cameras to track red squirrels in Clocaenog Forest and a defibrillator in an old phonebox in Nantglyn.
Cadwyn Clwyd Project Manager Helen Williams said: “We have been delighted to help so many local organisations benefit from the Wind Farm Fund so far and we’re looking for many more to get bids in by the deadline.
“This is a great opportunity for local community groups and societies who need to think big and small because the money is available for a range of projects across the area.”
Details of how to apply for the latest round of funding are on Cadwyn Clwyd’s website at http://cadwynclwyd.co.uk/