The Redcastle Hotel nominates one charity each year to support. Selecting one particular charity allows us to concentrate our efforts and resources into making a notable difference to a cause or organisation. This year, 2019, our nominated charity is Foyle Search and Rescue
Foyle Search and Rescue is a registered voluntary-based charity operating in Derry in Northern Ireland, but covering search and rescue operations UK and Ireland wide when required. Foyle Search and Rescue was set up by local people in 1993 in response to the alarmingly high number of drownings in the river (30 within 18 months) and has adopted the role of preventing suicide and supporting families in the City.
Their aim is to reduce the number of people who die through drowning in the River Foyle – one of the coldest and fastest flowing rivers in Europe.
Their volunteers are from the local community and selflessly give up hours of their personal time every week to help those in need.
The volunteers patrol the river on Thursday, Friday & Saturday nights, identified peak times of need, from 9.30pm to 3.00am, engaging with people in distress, maintaining lifebelts and saving lives.
They have an Emergency Response Pager Team, made up of 15 dedicated volunteers who are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for incidents and emergencies outside of patrol times. This team are paged by the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) to respond to potential suicide attempts and incidents in and around the river. This team also acts as a body recovery team who search for any person missing in the river and recover the body with the greatest dignity.
They also provide an education programme on water safety and suicide awareness to local schools, workplaces and community groups.The Foyle Search & Rescue facilitate the North West Bereaved by Suicide Support Group for families and friends who have lost a loved one to suicide.