Sugden secures £240,000 funding for voluntary Search and Rescue groups

Date published: 21 December 2016

Justice Minister Claire Sugden has announced an immediate pre-Christmas £240,000 capital funding package for voluntary Search and Rescue groups in Northern Ireland.

Photo 7054: Back Row: Martin McMullan, Mourne Mountain Rescue Team, Minister Claire Sugden and James Martin, Lough Neagh Rescue. Front Row: Philip Moore, Search and Rescue Dog Association Ireland North (trainee search dog George) and Eileen Coulter, Nort

The 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.

Minister Claire Sugden said: “This vital funding package of £240,000 will immediately benefit the voluntary Search and Rescue teams who, around the clock, are ready to answer calls from people in distress.

“In the first six months of this year, volunteers responded to around 250 incidents, and contributed around 10,000 operational hours.  Their dedication, enthusiasm and courage is outstanding.” 

The Minister also acknowledged the support the Search and Rescue groups receive from public donations: “I recognise and thank the community who generously continue to support our Search and Rescue groups and help them successfully make our waterways, towns and countryside much safer.”

The funding will be distributed between voluntary Search and Rescue groups who provide assistance to the statutory tasking authorities. 

Notes to editors: 

1.  The DoJ 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 Department of Justice assumed responsibility for the allocation of available funding from 1 April 2015. 

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

4.  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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