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Lidl provides free site for Mourne Rescue Team base

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Lidl provides free site for Mourne Rescue Team base thumbnailMembers of the Mourne Mountain Rescue Team with Conor Boyle from Lidl Northern Ireland.

THE Mourne Mountain Rescue Team (MMRT) have been provided with a free site on which to build a state-of-the-art base in Newcastle.

Lidl Northern Ireland made the announcement last week following "extensive engagement and consultation".

The site off Shan Slieve Drive and Bryansford Road is at the same location as Lidl's proposed new store on the site of the old St Mary's Girls' Primary School.

Lidl held a community consultation last year to outline the views of local people and some concerns were raised about the choice of site.

The new site for the MMRT will be at the foot of the Mournes and will offer them the space they need to develop a new facility which will "futureproof the lifesavingservice they provide".

The voluntary rescue organisation is made up of members of the local community and the team coordinated 44 rescues last year alone - making them the busiest team in Northern Ireland.

Speaking at the announcement, Dave Goddard from the MMRT said: "As part of our 50th anniversary celebrations back in 2012, we announced our intention to seek a new base to operate from.

"When we embarked on exploratory discussions with Lidl last year, we never dreamed that we would now be in a position to drastically improve efficiencies for the team, whilst also being able to interact even more with the local community." Mr Goddard said the new base will give the MMRT the chance to lower running costs and increase capabilities to train more people from the local area who want to join the team.

He added: "We are very fortunate to have an incredible level of support from the local community and we are confident that this new chapter in the history of Mourne MMRT will be of enormous benefit to the whole area." Meanwhile, Conor Boyle, regional director for Lidl in Northern Ireland, said: "Back in 2016, a young man called Nathan Pierson put the Mourne Mountain Rescue Team on our radar when he was nominated for a Lidl Community Works Local Hero award for his fundraising efforts for the team.

"When a representative from MMRT was in our Newcastle store submitting a nomination for Nathan, they spoke with our planner who was carrying out a public consultation for the new development and mentioned that they were searching for a new base in the area.

"Since then, both teams have collaborated extensively and we're confident that the MMRT will make fantastic use of the space on the site and continue to provide a service which benefits the entire local community." It is understood Lidl is set to lodge a new planning application in the next week for its proposed new store in Newcastle.

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