Rescue team given helping hand by bypass partnership13th Dec 2010

A ‘HOMELESS’ search and rescue team finally has a place to meet thanks to the generosity of the construction team building the long-awaited Porthmadog bypass.

Aberglaslyn Mountain Rescue Team had to leave its rented premises, a converted agricultural shed, a year ago.

Since then the group, which relies almost entirely on fundraising and voluntary donations, has had nowhere to meet or store equipment.

That has all changed thanks to a kind-hearted gesture from the joint venture partnership of Balfour Beatty and Jones Bros (Civil Engineering), which is building the £35m Tremadog, Porthmadog and Minffordd bypass for the Welsh Assembly Government.

A vacant portacabin at the construction team’s main compound at Stryd Fawr, opposite Porthmadog Fire Station, has been handed over to the rescue team.

The cabin will be used for storing vital equipment such as stretchers, ropes, first aid kit and a state-of-the-art vacuum mattress.

Two modified Land Rovers and other emergency vehicles used by the group will be parked at the compound when not in use.

Partnership bosses have also given permission for the rescue team to hold meetings and safety DVD viewings in the on-site visitors’ centre, which opened in the summer to provide the public with information about the bypass scheme.

“It’s absolutely brilliant”, said Dion Jones, a callout co-ordinator with the group, “it’s like Christmas has come early.”

He added: “It’s an ideal setup for us because the bypass compound is in a central location and it’s a great meeting place. I was speechless when we were told the good news – it’s fantastic and I can’t thank the bypass team enough.”

Aberglaslyn Mountain Rescue Team is a charity staffed by more than 30 volunteers. The team is on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and covers an area of roughly 750 square kilometres including Snowdonia and the Llyn Peninsula. Team members train every week and hold regular meetings. It deals with more than 50 callouts a year.

The team has been granted planning permission to build a permanent new base on the outskirts of Porthmadog. It plans to relocate from the bypass compound in 2011, but still needs to raise £20,000 before work can be completed.

The bypass partnership has offered to resurface the track leading up to the new premises to make it accessible – a move that will save the group £5,000.

Alun Jones, public liaison officer for the bypass project, said: “We are delighted to be able to help such a dedicated and selfless group of volunteers.

“The team does a fantastic job and I hope they find our facilities useful.”

Work on the new bypass is progressing at a steady rate. The new section of the A487 carriageway will improve journey times, ease congestion and significantly improve environmental conditions by enabling current through traffic to bypass the three towns.