Finance fears for Sidmouth St John Ambulance

PUBLISHED: 09:29 28 March 2011

Tony Drodge

Tony Drodge

Archant

THE former chairman of Sidmouth’s St John Ambulance division fears for its future if driving forces in the town continue to be left in the dark over finances.

THE former chairman of Sidmouth’s St John Ambulance division fears for its future if driving forces in the town continue to be left in the dark over finances.

Tony Drodge, who stood down from the position after eight years, told those who attended the charity’s annual general meeting that he was “at a loss” over its monetary situation.

Despite cash being raised locally by the Sidmouth branch, its finances are now controlled by county and national divisions.

A lack of accounts and balances at the charity’s AGM on Monday was labelled as “unheard of.”

Mr Drodge said bequests in the town to the charity had dwindled - with none in the last three years.

He added: “As we don’t have control over the funds we raise, the enthusiasm for fundraising has diminished.

“Since county took control of finances, and since Sheffield became the national financial centre, we have become completely at a loss to understand what is happening.

“I can only see the monies raised in Sidmouth disappearing to a centre in Sheffield and that we have to go begging to county to spend that money as we want.”

Mr Drodge said every fixture and fitting at the Sidmouth SJA base in Blackmore Drive, building work and all equipment, including ambulances, was financed alone by the town division.

He said door to door canvassing for the charity in Sidmouth now meant some thought giving cash was “unnecessary”.

He warned: “Look at what happened to the Red Cross. They used to have a thriving base in Sidmouth and used to man a sea-front first-aid post during the summer. That, and they, have gone. Do we want the same to happen to Sidmouth SJA? Once you lose it, it will never return.”

Mr Drodge’s successor as chairman, Graham Liverton, said: “We’re losing good volunteers by the wayside because of the frustration. I’m concerned about it all.

“Not having balances at an AGM is unheard of. We’ve got to sort this out.

“This is a charity, members of the public should see how much we’ve got and what we’re doing with it. This isn’t good enough.”

New SJA county division treasurer, Ian McQueen, vowed to work with Sidmouth branch members over its accounts.

SJA provides basic first aid to comfort members of the public, who have been injured or taken ill, until the ambulance service arrives.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Sidmouth Herald. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Sidmouth Herald