CAVRA, the self-styled “Civil Aid Volunteer Rescue Association” has issued a press release covering its activities during 2016 in which – not for the first time – has omitted any details of the ‘rescues’ which it claims to have undertaken during the year.
In a report entitled “Another Busy year for CAVRA” the Sully-based charity – formerly the Cardif and Vale Rescue Association – claims that in 2016 it “attended a total of 12 incidents, rescuing 7 people”.
No details of these incidents, nor of the people rescued, nor of the locations or of the dates on which the rescues were carried out, are given in the press release.
The report goes on to claim that CAVRA assisted at “a further 17 plus 3 other incidents” – but no details are given. It also says “our volunteers performed 11,300 hours of voluntary service estimated to be worth £146,900 to the local community”.
CAVRA had earlier claimed that up until the end of 2015 it had received a total of £282,229.11 in donations and grants (including an £80,000 grant from the “Community Facilities and Activities Programme ” – which funded purchase of one of its rescue boats, a 4×4 Land Rover vehicle and an “amphibious all-terrain vehicle” plus other equipment.
However at the beginning of 2016 the Vale of Glamorgan Council refused to renew an annual £250 grant to CAVRA (which had asked the council for £500) . In September 2014 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” and the Vale of Glamorgan Council told the charity it was “not part of council official emergency planning protocol”.
Even though CAVRA is a Sully-based charity, and its three boats are based at the “BP” Sports and Social Centre at Sully (within direct sight of Sully Island), CAVRA seems rarely – if ever – called upon by the HM Coastguard to rescue any of the dozens of people who every year are trapped on the island by the tide.
It’s not CAVRA, but the RNLI’s Penarth crews who are always trusted to carry out such missions – even though CAVRA is based in Sully and claims to be “available 24/7” and has received thousands of pounds in funding from the taxpayer – whereas the RNLI receives none .
In the latest report for 2016 CAVRA confirms having received £41,000 from the UK Government Department of Transport for the purchase of a “a new flood rescue boat, equipment trailer, as well as other equipment and training”.
In its 2016 report to the Charities Commission, CAVRA’s chairman says ,” Now that we have received these grants, and completed the training, we WILL have to deliver, when the call comes!”
Although the RNLI, Penarth Coastguard and South Wales Fire and Rescue all routinely publish details of all their rescues and call-outs on the day they happen, CAVRA says “we reserve the right to not disclose this information under the Data Protection Act 1998.”