Charity of the Year

Vote for Red Funnel’s 2019 Charity of the Year!

It’s that time of year again, and we couldn’t be more excited. It’s time to pick our next Red Funnel Charity of the Year, and we need YOUR help.

Over 50 amazing charities took part in our application process, and we’ve recently narrowed it down to five and from there, Red Funnel staff have their say and voted for what are now our three finalists:

  • Naomi House & Jacksplace - Provides expert hospice care to life limited and life threatened children, young adults, and delivers the crucial emotional, spiritual and developmental aspects of care that families need.

        Learn more here:

  • Home-Start, Isle of Wight - Helps families with young children struggling to cope with issues such as isolation, lack of confidence, postnatal depression, physical and mental health problems, and bereavement, among many others.

        Learn more here:

  • Mountbatten, Isle of Wight - Providing 24/7 care and support for Island adults, children and families who are facing death, dying and bereavement, in their own home, care homes, Mountbatten Hospice and in our local hospital.

        Learn more here:

We’re now turning it over to you. Voting is now officially open and closes Sunday, 16th December 2018. When you’re ready, please select one of the charities below. Thank you for your input!

The results will be announced the week of 17th December.


2019 Charity of the Year Public Vote

Our 2018 Charity of the Year 2018 is the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary.

It's a small, Island based charity with four key objectives:

  • Animal Welfare – caring for abandoned, neglected or retired donkeys.
  • Education – providing an education site for schools across the island and other parts of the UK.
  • Partnership – working with other charities and local groups.
  • Donkey Therapy – using donkeys to provide enjoyment and companionship for those in residential homes and day centers.

With your help, we hope to raise £50,000 in 2018 to help the Sanctuary plan a long term future. You can make a small gift donation to the charity when you make a ferry or holiday booking using this website. 



Hampshire & the Isle of Wight Air Ambulance is our Charity of the Year 2017

Thanks to public support, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Air Ambulance brings an advanced critical care team to people in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight when they need it most.

Available both day and night, 365 days a year, the Air Ambulance critical care team are called out many times a day to attend to road traffic collisions, sporting accidents, collapses and many other incidents. A highly skilled crew of Doctors, Paramedics and Pilots can be at the scene of an incident within minutes, ready to deliver the same level of care that you would expect from a hospital emergency department. A full range of life-saving equipment is carried on board, including two state of the art ultrasound devices, a blood transfusion kit and an immediate blood analyser, helping to save valuable seconds in the vital golden hour.

From receiving a 999 call, the Air Ambulance can be airborne within 4 minutes and can reach anywhere in Hampshire within 15 minutes and the Isle of Wight within 20. The charity operates an Airbus H135, the latest generation of EC135 helicopter, which is specially equipped and optimised for night operations. The Air Ambulance is deployed by a specialist paramedic working on the special incident desk at the South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) control centre, who screens all 999 emergency calls to establish if the patient would benefit from the advanced skills of the Critical Care Team aboard the Air Ambulance.

Since the start of flying operations on 1st July 2007, the charity has been steadily expanding its service to the community. During this time it has achieved several landmark milestones including carrying blood on board all flights, the introduction of regular doctor-led crewing and the start of night operations. The ability to carry out night operations gives us the capability and flexibility to land safely at the scene of an incident, in the dark. Crucially, the Air Ambulance is now able to land on a motorway after dark, which in the winter months can mean any time from 4.00pm onwards, at the height of rush hour traffic.

It currently costs in excess of £9,000 a day to maintain our life saving service, and we receive no Government or National Lottery funding for routine operations. It is only thanks to the generosity of the communities that we serve that we are able to keep the Air Ambulance flying and saving lives.

For more information Hampshire & the Isle of Wight Air Ambulance

Ability Dogs 4 Young People was our Charity of the Year 2016

The charity was set up on the Isle of Wight in April 2012) to train assistance dogs to enhance the independence of disabled young people and children living on the Isle of Wight. We were extremely pleased to raise £50,000 in donations from customers and staff. 

Ability Dogs help with physical and mental disabilities, including cerebral palsy, autism and epilepsy. They are unique; the only assistance dog charity providing Ability Dogs for disabled young people and children on the Isle of Wight.

For more information please see  

Interested in becoming a puppy parent?

Ability Dogs 4 Young People are looking for Puppy Parents to love and train a puppy for about 6 months to a year, and Assistant Puppy Parents who can look after a puppy for short periods. Puppy Parents are fully supported by our Ability Dog Trainers both at a weekly puppy training class and at home and the cost of all food, equipment and veterinary costs are covered. Puppy Parents play a major part in helping to train an Ability Dog who then goes onto transform the life of a young disabled person living on the Isle of Wight.  If you think you have got the right qualities to become a Puppy Parent contact Ability Dogs 4 Young People on 01983 216246 or email

Our 2015 Charity of the Year was Cowes based sailing charity UKSA.

An amazing £35,000 was raised to enable over 1,000 Isle of Wight school children to get out on the water and try their hand at sailing. The money was raised through a number of activities, including offering sunscreen to festivalgoer's at its terminals during the summer and washing cars in its marshalling yards. A large portion of the funds were raised through match-funding donations that generous ferry passengers gave when booking on Red Funnel's website, which amounted to £12,000 of the overall total.

Kevin George, our CEO said: "The mission to raise enough money to fund the Year 6 programme at UKSA has really brought our staff and customers together to achieve a common goal. It's also rewarding to see the effect these on-the-water experiences have on the pupils and it reminds us how important it is that every child is given the chance to explore and enjoy the opportunities afforded by the Isle of Wight."

Feedback from the programme has been very positive, with one teacher from St Saviour's Catholic Primary School in Totland commenting: "The children were challenged but felt really proud of what they achieved by trying something new. It was particularly great to see pupils who sometimes struggle in class shine in the activity and be commended for courage and calmness."

Richard Thornton, CEO at UKSA, said: "It's been fantastic for young people on the Island to have the chance to get out on the water and try sailing as a direct result of the money raised by Red Funnel. We are very impressed with the amount raised and are incredibly grateful to Red Funnel, its staff and its customers for their continued support."