Ford announces over £90,000 funding for Voluntary Search and Rescue Groups

Date published: 09 March 2016

Justice Minister, David Ford has allocated funding of over £90,000 for voluntary groups providing search and rescue services.

Lough Neagh Rescue
Funding announced for Search and Rescue groups

This will assist all nine voluntary groups within the Northern Ireland Practitioners Group to continue their vital work.

David Ford said: “In recent months, I have visited many of these groups and have been hugely impressed by their professionalism and proficiency as they undertake their life-saving role. The devotion and commitment by team members is evident through the 365 days a year service they provide in close partnership with the statutory agencies. 

“I am pleased to confirm that, despite current financial pressures, my Department will maintain the level of funding provided last year. This is nearly double the grant which was paid in 2014 before the Department of Justice took responsibility.

“While this funding will go some way to assist groups to carry out their important work, they can only survive with voluntary contributions. I would encourage the community to continue to support these groups with their local fundraising activities.”

Notes to editors: 

1.  The Department of Justice assumed responsibility for the allocation of available funding from 1 April 2015.  It has sought bids from all of the nine groups on the Search and Rescue Practitioners Group. All groups applied and have been allocated funding.

2.  Funding for 16/17 has been allocated as follows:


Amount Recommended:

Community Rescue Service £21,972
Irish Cave Rescue Organisation £9,241
North West Mountain Rescue Team £21,000
Lough Neagh Rescue £6,610
Foyle Search and Rescue £3,157
Search and Rescue Dog Association Ireland North £12,700
Mourne Mountain Rescue Team £10,900
Skywatch £3,500
Lagan Search and Rescue


TOTAL £90,880

3.  In 2014 the Department carried out a strategic review into framework arrangements for search and rescue.  One of the recommendations from this review was that funding should be accessible to all the voluntary groups.

4.  In April 2015 the Department doubled the amount of funding available to voluntary groups from £46,000 to over £90,000.

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 0769 971 5440 and your call will be returned.

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