Red Funnel announces changes to its chosen Charities of the Year

Red Funnel today announced that Isle of Wight Independent Life Boats, a collaboration of Freshwater Independent Lifeboat, Sandown & Shanklin Independent Lifeboat and Ryde Inshore Rescue, will be deferred as its Charity of the Year for 2020, and instead hold the distinction for 2021.

With immediate effect, Red Funnel is fundraising for its two runner-up charities, Monkey Haven and Daisy Chains IW, who will now become Red Funnel’s “Charities of the Year, 2020.”

In late 2019, the lifeboat groups joined forces to submit a joint application to Red Funnel’s Charity of the Year programme; however, due to the ongoing pandemic, there has been a reduction in numbers using the lifeboat organisations, as well as training efforts. The group proactively offered its position as this year’s Charity of the Year to two charities that are in greater, more urgent need at this time.

Monkey Haven (LEAF Foundation), well-known to Islanders since it opened its doors a decade ago, provides a sanctuary for monkeys, birds and reptiles on the Isle of Wight. It relies largely on seasonal income and visitor admission to fund overheads including food, habitat maintenance and veterinary care for the resident animals.

Daisy Chains IW is also a well-known, Isle of Wight-based, charity which supports children and their families who have been diagnosed with a long-term health problem, life-limiting condition and/or disability. It does so through fundraisers and events, the latter, which due the ongoing situation could prove difficult for the charity hold this year, risking a shortfall in income. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Daisy Chains has set up a Family Support Fund to help with essential food and household items for struggling families.

Martin Newham representing IOW Independent Lifeboats said: “We wish to thank Red Funnel for the opportunity and we very much look forward to working with them next year. For now, it makes sense for us to defer to 2021 as there are other charities in greater need right now. We’re very happy to see Red Funnel’s fundraising support go to Monkey Haven and Daisy Chains who need the help more urgently.”

Speaking on behalf of Monkey Haven, Kelly Wickes said: “We are absolutely delighted to be given the privilege of becoming Red Funnels joint Charity of the Year and we are enormously grateful to The Lifeboat association for their kind gesture. We cannot tell you how much it means to us and our animals to be granted this wonderful opportunity in extending our partnership with Red Funnel. Closing our doors in March meant losing a crucial source of income from our many visitors, therefore putting an enormous strain on our charity and leaving us in urgent need of funding. It has been a huge financial struggle to fund necessities such as medication, operations, heating, cleaning and specialist foods, and with many mouths to feed, this much needed support could not have come at a better time for our animal sanctuary. We are truly grateful, and with the public’s support, we hope to get through these hard times and be able to rescue even more creatures in crisis.”

Representing Daisy Chains, Mandy Fuller added: “What a wonderful, unexpected surprise to have received this news from Red Funnel. The COVID-19 crisis has had a tremendous impact on the vulnerable children we support along with their families. Coping with the social and economic fallout of the pandemic is hard enough for most families, but it’s typically more challenging for the families we serve due to their pre-existing circumstances. We are working incredibly hard to maintain support and keep up with the increase in demand for our services and we’re doing the best we can. However, with our main fundraising events on hold due to restrictions on gatherings, we urgently need to turn our attention to finding new ways to raise the funding we need to keep going. This support from Red Funnel could not have come at a more appropriate time for us so we’re very, very grateful.”

Fran Collins, CEO at Red Funnel, said: “We completely respect the IOW Independent Lifeboats proposal to defer its position as our Charity of the Year until 2021 and admire the selflessness of this group of organisations at a time when many are relying on the charity of others. We are delighted to have already started raising funds for both Monkey Haven and Daisy Chains, and look forward to continuing these great partnerships throughout the rest of the year.”

All funds that Red Funnel raise will be split 50/50 between Monkey Haven and Daisy Chains. Meanwhile, the Isle of Wight Independent Life Boats group will be continuing to fundraise in other ways, including with its popular Lifeboat Lotto, which raises money for vital training and equipment. Anyone wishing to take part in the lottery and make a donation can do so here: