Tesco NI raises over 10K for Community Rescue Service

Big-hearted Tesco customers across Northern Ireland have raised over £10K for Community Rescue Service (CRS), a search and rescue organisation operated by volunteers from communities all over the province.
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In its second consecutive year, the special collection day mobilised 30 CRS volunteers, plus family and friends, in 15 stores in Belfast, Antrim, South Down, Coleraine, Ballymena, Limavady, Derry and Enniskillen.

The charity is the primary responder to the PSNI for high-risk missing persons. In 2023 alone, the CRS answered 420 callouts on land and in the water – in other words, more than one case per day. Belfast was the busiest district, with 140 callouts last year.

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The entire service is run by volunteers and public donations. All the money raised on Saturday will be used to buy life-saving equipment for the Sartechs (Search Technicians) and to allow the charity to provide its search and rescue service province-wide 24/7, 365 days a year. The average annual spent on fuel alone for the charity is approximately £40K. Tesco stores also contribute regularly with snacks for the search teams, including sandwiches, crips, tea and coffee.

(L-R) Kerry Whitehouse, Elmo, Donna McCotter and Dominic McIlroy, CSR Belfast Unit Commander.(L-R) Kerry Whitehouse, Elmo, Donna McCotter and Dominic McIlroy, CSR Belfast Unit Commander.
(L-R) Kerry Whitehouse, Elmo, Donna McCotter and Dominic McIlroy, CSR Belfast Unit Commander.

Donna McCotter, Community Champion at the Tesco Yorkgate store in Belfast, commented: “This is an incredible result! Our colleagues and customers have been so generous. Due to its sensitive nature, the Community Rescue Service is not very publicised, and many people don’t know how important their work is across Northern Ireland. It was wonderful to see Tesco and the CSR volunteers come together for this amazing charity!”

Kerry Whitehouse, CRS Antrim District Unit Commander and Fundraiser Officer, said: “We had done collections at Tesco stores before with buckets and packing groceries, but this special donation day across stores was Donna’s initiative. It has been a great opportunity not only to receive much-needed funding but also to talk to customers and raise awareness about the work done by the CRS. Tesco has been absolutely brilliant, it’s a great partnership! Without the efforts and amazing teamwork demonstrated by Tesco staff and Community Champions as well as Community Rescue Service volunteers, this amazing collection total would simply not be possible.”