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CLERK’S BRIEFING NOTE
Sussex Air Ambulance Fund
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For information of Sedlescombe Parish Council at its meeting on 11 March 2008
1 The Parish Council has received a request from the Sussex Air Ambulance Fund (Charity No.1021367) for a contribution towards provision of a helicopter.  The cost is £1.5 million a year per helicopter to run a 12-hours a day, 7 days a week service.  The helicopter always flies with one pilot and two medical crew.
2 The Sussex Air Ambulance covers a wide area of Kent, Surrey and Sussex with two helicopters, one each based at Dunsfold and Marden.  A chart provided by the charity suggests that the Marden helicopter can reach incidents in the Hastings area within ten minutes.
3 Although parish councils do not have any statutory powers to make such contributions, it is possible under Section 137(3) of the Local Government Act 1972 for a parish council to make a contribution to a charity in furtherance of their work in the UK.  In such instances, the public service does not have to bring any direct benefit to the council’s area or to its inhabitants. Expenditure must be properly authorised by resolution of the parish council.  [Information from NALC Legal Topic Note No.31, November 2007 entitled Section 137 of the Local Government Act 1972.]
4 A council making a donation should require the charity to furnish a written statement of how the money has been spent within 12 months after the assistance has been given.  The current application for funding includes the Annual Report and Financial Statement for the year ended 31/03/07
5

Sedlescombe Parish Council has spent £475 of its £500 budget allocation for grant aid in 2007/8.  The beneficiaries were Battle Community Transport (£100), Rural Rother Trust (£50), Sedlescombe Churchyard Fund (£300), East Sussex Association for the Blind (£25). 

No allocations have yet been made against next year’s £500 budget. 

If the Parish Council agrees in principle to support this Charity, agreement on the amount should be delegated to the Finance Committee.

6 Draft Resolution:  That Sedlescombe Parish Council agrees to make a donation to the Sussex Air Ambulance in 2008/09 in accordance with Section 137(3) of the Local Government Act 1972, the amount to be agreed by the Finance Committee.  The Charity to be asked to provide a written statement of how the money is spent within 12 months.
 
  Mrs P Raymond
Clerk/RFO, Sedlescombe Parish Council
01424 870508
sedlescombe@freezone.co.uk
5 March 2008