Department of Justice secures £200,000 for voluntary search and rescue groups

Date published: 08 August 2019

The Department of Justice has announced a £200,000 capital funding package for voluntary Search and Rescue groups in Northern Ireland.

Peter May pictured with NI Search and Rescue members

The nine independent search and rescue groups deliver assistance to the emergency services and directly to the community. They provide lifesaving search and rescue on inland waterways, mountains and caves. They also provide a specialist search dog facility and support civil aviation with a sky watch service.

Department of Justice Permanent Secretary Peter May said: “This vital funding will immediately benefit the voluntary search and rescue teams and their dedicated highly trained volunteers, to answer calls from people in distress.

“I fully appreciate the contribution made by the groups, and am delighted to be able to provide additional financial support to assist them in carrying out their vital work.

Peter May also acknowledged the generosity of the public in providing support to the search and rescue sector: “Throughout Northern Ireland the public generously support search and rescue groups, allowing them to fund essential training and equipment.  Without such donations and support these groups would not be as well equipped to assist those who need it most.”

This capital funding is in addition to revenue funding provided by the Department of Justice on an annual basis. £86,000 was allocated earlier this year.

Notes to editors: 

1.  The Department of Justice co-ordinates the Northern Ireland Search and Rescue Practitioners’ Group which brings together the nine independent voluntary search and rescue groups, local RNLI and Coastguard teams, and members of their statutory partners.  This provides a forum for groups to come together to share experiences and best practice.  Further information can be found on the Northern Ireland Search and Rescue webpage at .

2. The table below details the revenue and capital funding allocated to each of nine voluntary search and rescue groups.

Organisation Revenue Amount Approved Capital Amount Approved
Mourne Mountain Rescue Team £18,500 £23,260
Community Rescue Service NIL £32,000
Irish Cave Rescue Organisation £11,000 £26,000
Foyle Search and Rescue £6,877 £9396
Sky watch Civil Air Patrol NI £4,000 NIL
Search and Rescue Dog Association IN £18,500 £26,500
Lagan Search and Rescue £11,000 £23,180
Lough Neagh Rescue £5,200 £28,995
North West Mountain Rescue Team £11,000 £18,975
Joint Application – Sky watch/Lagan Search and Rescue/Lough Neagh Rescue n/a £11,669
Total £86,077 £199,975

3.  The Department of Justice assumed responsibility for the allocation of available funding from 1 April 2015.  In 2019/20 £86k of revenue funding was allocated to the voluntary search and rescue groups.

4.  The Department is in the process of finalising the allocation of capital funding.

5.  All media enquiries should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office on 028 9052 6444.  Out of hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 028 9037 8110 and your call will be returned.

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