Comic Relief announces £1 million grant for Transaid at Buckingham Palace celebration

Comic Relief last night announced a £1 million grant to transport industry charity Transaid, at the organisation’s 15th anniversary celebration at Buckingham Palace, hosted by Her Royal HighnessThe Princess Royal.

The five-year grant, which will be used to set up Transaid’s Emergency Transport Scheme in Adamawa State in Nigeria, was welcomed by charity patron The Princess Royal who also paid tribute to the transport and logistics sector for their ongoing support.

The Princess Royal said the support the industry has given to Transaid over the last 15 years is invaluable, before adding that the work completed so far is “only the beginning”.

Harriet Cochrane, International Grants Health Programme Manager at Comic Relief, said: “In just one year 287,000 women die as a result of pregnancy-related complications around the world, and shockingly, 14 per cent of these deaths are in Nigeria alone. Many of these deaths could have been avoided if the women had been able to reach a health facility for their delivery.”

Transaid’s Emergency Transport Scheme has already helped 10,000 pregnant women in Africa access medical facilities during labour, by training local taxi drivers and encouraging them to transport them to health centres free of charge or at minimal cost.

Harriet added: “Transaid is tackling a very real public health need by setting up a system that will be in place long after the project has finished. The scale and ambition of the project is huge, but we’re confident that it will bring about the changes it is planning, and save many lives in the process.

“Transaid has already proved the impact when they tested the concept in 2009 using funds from the transport and logistics industry before seeking a grant for scale up from Comic Relief.”

The prestigious reception, sponsored by Bandvulc Group and Barclays, was attended by more than 130 guests from across the sector including existing supporters, potential supporters and Transaid staff, some of whom had travelled back from Africa for the occasion.

Transaid’s Chief Executive, Gary Forster, thanked The Princess Royal for her “robust and continued support”, theTransaid team for being “passionate, hard-working and selfless individuals”, and the charity’s trustees for their “loyal support and counsel”.

Addressing the sector as a whole, he said: “You, the transport and logistics industry, should be incredibly proud of what you have achieved. I struggle to think of another industry which has done so much, so selflessly for the benefit of people whom you’ll almost certainly never meet, nor your business will benefit from.”

Transaid was originally founded as a sub-charity within Save the Children after its Patron The Princess Royal realised 25 per cent of the charity’s budget for relief work in Ethiopia was being spent on transport in emergencies. The Princess Royal went on to play a leading role in the formation of Transaid as an independent organisation in 1998, and describes it as being a “very special charity”. Transaid’s continued growth has only been made possible by the reputation and support base it has established within the UK’s transport and logistics industry, which has helped to support projects in more than 25 countries in 15 years.