As regional heart testing became more formalised so our funds in and out increased, and with that the need to account and audit more formally. At the same time people’s desire to donate directly to the IWHG increased, so gradually our funds have increased. However, the level of this funding has usually been relatively low and it is only in 2014 that significant funds have been raised. With the appointment of our Patron, Trudi Sumner, and the wonderful fundraising activities of so many hardworking fundraisers throughout the year, we ended 2014 with £18,298 in the bank accounts – an exceptional amount and a huge opportunity to support existing and potentially new projects.
Obviously, this does not mean that we have that total amount to spend; the funds comprise cash flow amounts for the regional heart testing, plus the Admin Pot, plus pre-allocated amounts. However, taking these into account, the available Project Development Fund at the end of 2014 stood at £17,692.
SO WHERE ARE WE UP TO NOW?
So far we have not allocated these funds. It is not something that we feel should be rushed into and once we have prepared our proposals, should take place in consultation with the breed bodies and where possible with the breed membership as well.
Whilst this year has seen a slowdown in donations, we have still had an excellent response in continued support and fundraising. At the time of going to print we have received donations for this year of £9,430, of which £2,266 has been specifically donated for the proposed new Nottingham University OSA Research, leaving a balance of general PD Funds of £7,164. Bringing forward the Project Development Funds from 2014 of £17,692 we now have an accumulated general PD Fund of £24,856.
This is a significant sum, but there are several calls on the PDF. We have to consider what existing research projects might require additional funds to continue their development, such as the Pneumonia Study or the existing heart research programmes. So far, the Group has identified and agreed the following areas that require funds allocated: the Pneumonia Study – requires ongoing support for the principal investigator, Dr Angela Bodey, for the day to day administration, set aside £3k to cover up to end 2016; for possible repairs and renewals for the mobile scanner for the Regional Heart Testing Scheme – set aside £3k; an allowance needs to be made for super-veteran subsidies, set aside £1k; an allowance needs to be set aside against unexpected amounts, set aside £1k. This leaves a general fund in the PDF of £16,856 plus the £2,266 specifically for the new OSA research.
Importantly, we have two new developments applying for funding for osteosarcoma research. The AHT’s long-standing research programme has now reached a stage where we are being asked to help fund DNA profiling. This is estimated to require an initial one off cost of £12,000.
At the same time, we have been approached by Nottingham University to partner in a new osteosarcoma research programme that requires a long-term commitment and investment by the breed. Currently, we are optimistic that this will proceed as the numbers required to ensure the study is significant are increasing daily. We are also seeing very dedicated fundraisers, generating amounts specifically allocated to this study to ensure that it has the best chance of going ahead. However, the funding for this new study has been identified as requiring an initial financial input from the breed of £10,000 per year for three years, so overall £30,000. This is a not inconsiderable amount and whilst we could fund the first year and a large part of the second, we have no guarantee of the fundraising within the breed being sufficient to meet that ongoing level of funding.
The Group is introducing funding application forms for the research programmes that have approached us to formalise their requests. We have a duty of care to ensure that any funds we place are in the best interests of the breed and that we are clear on what they hope to deliver and that there is accountability to the Group and report back in place.
We would like to think that the current funds can be allocated to a combination of existing studies and also to both the osteosarcoma projects, but we would need to be sure that we could carry on raising funds for the ongoing needs of the Notts Uni study and that would mean a sustained drive to meet annual fundraising targets. We have the most wonderful fund raisers, but this is a huge ask for everyone and we believe we should not support only one project exclusively to the possible detriment of other breed projects.