Foyle Search and Rescue have officially opened a new extension at their base in Prehen following a mammoth fundraising effort.
The new two storey facility has been realised after five years of fundraising.
The charity had in 2012 applied for funding for the project but was unsuccessful. With the continued support of the local community however the plans have now been realised.
Among the major drives launched locally was by a group of local people who kick started One Big Fundraiser. The local group came together and raised over £22,000 for the charity, and were among the VIPs who attended the official launch of the extension on Wednesday. The wider public in Derry and across the north west also rallied behind the campaign.
The new facility includes a Training room, Volunteers Room, new Kitchen and appliances, a reception area, a new lift and disability access.
There are also new showers and toilets, as well as a Dry Room and Changing area, an Equipment room, First Aid Treatment area and a Conference Room.
On top of this, the base now features an external decontamination area, as well as a new, open reception area, with disability access to all levels of the building which will improve the previous Bronze Star standard.
Stephen Twells, Chairman of FSR, said: “With thanks in no small way to the support of the people of the city, we are delighted to have been able to complete the new extension enabling our volunteers to continue with the charities main aim: ‘the preservation of Life’.
“The new improvements to our base will enable the continuation of Search & Rescue operations at the highest level for years to come.
“Foyle Search & Rescue volunteers would like to thank you, the public, and businesses for your continued support.”
An open day will take place early in the summer for the public to view the new base and varied equipment, he added.
Foyle Search and Rescue revealed earlier this month that the number of incidents they attended over the past year had jumped by over 50 per cent on the previous year.
During 2016, they were involved in a total of 232 incidents, up 50.64 per cent on 2015.
Foyle Search and Rescue was set up in Derry in 1993 in direct response to the growing number of lives being lost to the River Foyle.