Long announces vital funding for voluntary search and rescue groups

Alliance Justice Minister Naomi Long has announced £100,000 funding for voluntary search and rescue groups in Northern Ireland.

The voluntary 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.

Naomi Long said: “This vital funding will assist the voluntary search and rescue teams and their dedicated highly trained volunteers, to continue with their lifesaving response.

“I recognise and fully appreciate the contribution made by the voluntary search and rescue groups in supporting PSNI and Maritime and Coastguard Agency in responding to those in need of assistance. I am pleased to confirm the 2020/21 funding which supports and assists organisations and their volunteers by enabling them to purchase much needed safety equipment or help towards the cost of transport and training. I want to acknowledge the continued commitment of the voluntary search and rescue organisations during the current Covid-19 crisis.”

Minister Long also acknowledged the generosity of the public in providing support to the search and rescue sector: “Throughout Northern Ireland the public generously supports search and rescue groups, these donations also help fund much needed equipment or support. Without such donations and support these groups would not be as well equipped to assist those who need it most.”

This £100,000 resource funding is an increase of approximately £15,000 from the funding available in 2019/20.