CAVRA - the "Civil Aid Rescue Association" - has been pressing for greater involvement in rescue work .

CAVRA – the Sully-based “Civil Aid Rescue Association” – which has been pressing for greater involvement in local rescue work – has received a huge grant from the Department of Transport .

CAVRA – the “Civil Aid Voluntary Rescue Association“, which had a recent request for a £500 donation turned down by the Vale of Glamorgan Council   has received a  grant from the UK Government of £36,430.

The registered charity, which is based in Sully, has received the funding from the Department of Transport’s Inshore and Inland Rescue Boat Grant Scheme. The grant is to fund the purchase of a Pioneer 3 “flood rescue” boat .

CAVRA on exercise in Cardiff Bay. The organisation claims it isn't called upon to carry out enough rescues

CAVRA on exercise in Cardiff Bay. The organisation has complained it is often not called in by Cardiff Harbour Authority for rescue missions in the Bay which are normally with dealt with by South Wales Fire and Rescue’s boat crew or the RNLI  .  

The Sully-based organisation had asked for its annual grant from the Vale of Glamrogan Council to be doubled to £500 – but in the event the council refused to give the organisation any grant at all. The council also reminded CAVRA that it is “not part of council official emergency planning protocol”.

Earlier CAVRA  had complained to Cardiff Harbour Authority about not being called out to emergencies in Cardiff Bay – but Assistant Harbourmaster Tim Gifford said the Harbour Authority’s emergency procedures did “not include reference to CAVRA”.

Now the charity – which collects street-donations from the public – has received a government grant which is more than three times larger that the organisation’s total income last year .

The Charity Commission's table lists CAVRA's 2014 accounts as "qualified"

The Charity Commission’s table (reproduced above) lists CAVRA’s 2014 accounts as “qualified”

The Charity Commission flagged the 2014 set of CAVRA’s accounts as “qualified” . The commission’s chairman – William Shawcross –  said that the commission “qualifies” the accounts of charities “when an auditor has reservations about aspects of the accounts,  and makes a note to this effect”. He says ” The public should be able to see at a glance that a charity’s accounts have been questioned by an independent assessor” .

CAVRA has been asked by PDN to provide detailed information of the dates and locations of the rescues in which it says it has participated . None of this information is  available on the charity’s website – which is marked as being “under construction”.



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  1. David Moorcraft says:

    Isn’t CAVA a bit of a Self-Appointed group of enthusiasts trying to cover work which is already catered-for by existing bodies (e.g. The RNLI) – or is that unfair. ?

  2. Nemisis says:

    What a complete waste of tax payers money , I would also like to see details of rescues they have taken part in . I already take great exception to CAVRA Collecting money from public around Penarth money that could be going to the RNLI , in fact I work and live on the bay and the only time I ever see CAVRA is when they have their hands out for donations .

  3. Frank (yawn) Bird says:

    Why can’t the government give the money to the RNLI? How many rescues have they undertaken, CAVRA that is?

  4. Christopher David says:

    Hmm- I think a look at the charity sector in general is required. When £100,000 + becomes the starting line for charity bosses salaries, with some being paid over £700,000 PA things have gone very very wrong. Yes the small end needs examination especially with qualified accounts- that’s not good but the big picture requires a big investigation. The big charities also drain from the small ones. Be careful who you give your money to- big or small. Some of the smaller charities are excellent- true charities.

  5. Steve says:

    Ditto, I spend a lot of time out in the bay and on the rivers around Cardiff. Whilst I’ve seen them at various events doing PR work, I’ve not seen them involved in any “rescues” or incidents. In comparison, the Fire service with several fire/rescue boats, RNLI and Coastguard appear to be kept relatively busy. PDN regularly reports on the activities of these groups, but not once can I recall a “CAVRA in action again” headline.

  6. AK says:

    The Royal National Lifeboat Institute has been saving lives at sea since 1826 without any Government funding (or interference). It is funded by voluntary contribution and by generous benefactors and legacies.‎

    The RNLI boats are crewed entirely by volunteers and shore helpers, who drop everything to go ‘out on a shout’ – even if it only to ferry some idiot off Sully Island.

    They also undertake extensive training – only on Tuesday they were out on training with the Air Sea Rescue helicopter.‎

  7. Andy says:

    This is on top of the £10k grant from the Morrisons Foundation to enable CAVRA to purchase an engine and associated equipment for their ten man flood rescue boat, together with the necessary training to become a B type team.

  8. Martin Coffee says:

    CAVRA pre-dates the fire service’s vessel.

    I suspect that CAVRA’s exclusion from the Harbour Authority’s emergency procedures are due to local politics more than anything else. Can the PDN inquire as to why CAVRA are not included in the plan? I, for one, would like to know why the Harbour Authority have shunned a resource that could save someone’s life one day.

    I know that CAVRA provided support during the Somerset Level floods so, at least, their services are appreciated elsewhere.

    My first Director in the civil service gave me one important bit of advise. “Think how your decision would look on the front page of the News of the World.” I hope the Harbour Authority have thought about this.

    • Rich says:

      and how exactly do you call CAVRA? Do you call 999 and ask for them? No. You call 999 and ask for the Coastguard, and THEY allocate resources, whether it’s Coastguard teams, Bristow Helicopters, RNLI or independent organisations (like CAVRA).

      It seems there is a trend here of people complaining about CAVRA not being called out by the harbour authority, or not being included in their plans, when it’s not even their job to do that… Maybe they should be asking the Coastguard the same questions?

  9. Ivor Bagman says:

    While we’re on about charity’
    I used to pick up bags full of litter
    Near my home –
    Mainly dropped by drunks.
    8 years ago My Wife e-mailed the council
    To ask for a litter picker
    And bin bags to facilitate my
    Public spiritedness.
    They said that there was
    No facility available.
    Consequently I only now
    Pick up money !!

  10. Martin gossage says:

    Frankly I don’t know enough about cavra but from theirs and the harbours comments I would think cavra would say ” of course you havnt seen us on call outs no one asks us to help. “To me the question is why are they not called on to help.? …skills ?, training , ?

  11. Colin says:

    Too busy looking at car registrations……Too busy building a website……

  12. Raymond says:

    all sounds a bit strange to me and I believe the money could of been better spent elsewhere.

    I would say its more than politics preventing them being a “emergency organisation” within the Cardiff harbour authorities/ABP south wales procedure/safety management system. The RNLI , MCA coastguard and st anthans SAR are all fully recognized organisations with trained personnel able to work in a wide variety of conditions and as such they would be the first choice in any emergency situation.

  13. Christopher David says:

    RNLI- I won’t be contributing- that’s not charity.
    The table below spells out the Chief Executive’s total package for 2014.
    ​ Total​ Salary​ + ​Car
    ​2014 ​£143,583 ​
    In addition to the above, Mr Boissier participated in the standard RNLI pension scheme until the end of February 2014, from which date he withdrew from the scheme. The total contribution for this period from the RNLI was £5,540.

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