Failure to secure lotto funding 'delays air ambulance launch'
THE LAUNCH of a helicopter air ambulance has been delayed by months after it failed to secure Christmas lottery funding.
Local charities have to apply through the Association of Guernsey Charities to be in with a chance of securing a share of some £200,000.
But Air Rescue Channel Islands was left empty handed after finding out it needed to have been a member of the association since October, something it said was not made clear in any of the appeals for people to apply.
An ARCI spokesperson said: ‘As a new charity looking to launch a new island lifeline, we had hoped to apply for a grant to cover the costs of writing our medical operating procedures, the last piece of work required before launch.’
But demand is high and not every registered charity is able to secure funding.
‘While we could not have guaranteed being selected to receive a grant, this setback is likely to delay any launch of our service by around three months. Air Rescue are bitterly disappointed.’
It will not be able to apply for any lottery funding until at least 2021. Publicity material simply asked charities to apply by the end of January.
‘Air Rescue applied to join the AGC in January, then went to submit our application for a grant, only to be presented with a clause that mentions you have to have been a member since October,’ an Air Rescue spokesperson said.
‘It was not mentioned anywhere on the government website, nor the website of the AGC or any media articles or press releases.’
Confusion on this October stipulation extended elsewhere.
‘Media published articles to encourage charities to apply. All articles mentioned an end of January deadline.
‘If there was a deadline precluding applications, any marketing should have been made before the October deadline.
‘When we contacted AGC for clarification they stated this was a condition imposed by Trading Assets,’ the spokesperson said. ‘Upon contacting Trading Assets they were totally unaware of this condition. To quote a senior official: ‘‘Well, this is news to me’’.’
ARCI is a pan-island charity.
It aims to provide a helicopter air ambulance providing a rapid response to patients in Alderney, Sark and Herm, as well as the transfer of the most critically ill patients in Jersey and Guernsey to specialist UK hospitals in less than an hour.