When the world’s leading rally drivers descend on the Welsh forests for next month’s Wales Rally GB (13-16 November), the positive impact will be felt by local charities and good causes. The surge in popularity for last year’s UK round of the FIA World Rally Championship benefited communities in the region by no less than £42,500. These funds came directly from fees and commissions paid to clubs, schools and other groups running the event’s temporary car parks.
Now, with increased parking and more viewing areas being made available to cater for even more fans in 2014, the organisers are looking to match the financial benefits enjoyed by the charities last year.
“While Wales Rally GB puts more than £10m into the Welsh economy we are just as proud of the substantial funds that are raised for local good causes – these really can change lives,” enthused Ben Taylor, Managing Director of Wales Rally GB. “We couldn’t run this event without the efforts of our volunteer car park operators and we are delighted that the causes close to their hearts are able to benefit directly from the event.”
Several schools were among the notable beneficiaries in 2013 including Friends of Pontrobert School who raised more than £4,000 at Chirk Castle to invest in a new interactive smart board to enhance the education of their pupils.
Friends of Dyffryn Banw CP School manned the car parks for the Dyfnant Forest stage and are using the money raised to buy iPads, decorations and much-needed sports equipment. “It takes the strain off parents,” remarked Marie Shirley Smith. “The rally is great for the area. It brings in new people which also helps local amenities such as shops and cafes.”
Back at the event this year are the 1st Llangollen Guides. They will help to clear litter after the thousands of spectators have left the Chirk Castle RallyFest and will put their donation towards a Guide trip to Switzerland next year.
Car parks in Hafren Forest helped the Llanidloes Rotary Club assist several mid-Wales charities all in great need of funding. Some of the money raised on Wales Rally GB has gone towards a defibrillator, while every school child leaving primary school in the town now gets given a dictionary in preparation for secondary school.
Further north, volunteers at Kinmel Park helped to raise around £2,500 for the local community hall in the village of St George. The hall, which was in urgent need of repairs and renovations, acts as a real hub in the village hosting plays, pantomimes and shows.
Other fundraisers generating significant income from the presence of Wales Rally GB included rugby and football clubs in Newtown, Dolgellau, Llanwchllyn and Llandudno – they have all invested in new sports kits and schemes to encourage more juniors to join. “We’ve been doing this for five years and it really does make a tremendous difference,” confirmed Dai Davies of Newtown Rugby Club.
Meanwhile money raised by the Clybiau Ffermwyr Ifanc Meirionnydd (Young Farmers Club) from the car parks in the Dyfi Forest has gone directly towards training in rural activities. “It makes a massive contribution,” said Ffion Williams. “The club helps young members to gain vital expertise and couldn’t continue without such fundraising. Besides, despite the 3am start, it was brilliant fun. The spectators seemed genuinely pleased that people from the local community were involved and that the rally was helping them directly.”
Advanced tickets for the 2014 Wales Rally GB are available via the official website at www.walesrallygb.com or via the ticket hotline on 0844 847 2251.