Charity launched for UK disasters backed by Duke of Cambridge to give public single donation point they can trust

Chair of the NET and former Chief of the General Staff, Lord Dannatt said of the response to the 2017 disasters: “The general public were very generous and most the money that was raised went to the right causes and the right people but not everything went as it should have done. 

“The Charity Commission challenged charities in the voluntary and community sector to come up with a more efficient and collaborative way of working together in response to any future tragedy.” 

He added that the NET would be a “much more focused single point of contact for those that donate and those that need help”.  

The NET will have three functions: launching an appeal in the wake of a domestic disaster, allocating the money to the areas of need and distributing funds to pre-identified trusted partners on the ground. 

The Duke will make a short speech at today’s launch at St Martin’s in the Field, in London before chatting to representatives from the emergency services, NGOs, and some of the trust’s charitable partners. 

In 2017, the Duke accompanied the Queen as they visited families and volunteers in the aftermath of the Grenfell fire and was pictured consoling survivors.

He joined the crew of DIY SOS the following year on a major project to support those affected by the inferno. 

In his roles as an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot and air ambulance pilot with the East Anglian Air Ambulance Service, the Duke gained first hand experience of the vital work undertaken and the profound emotion that can consume all involved.

As he carried out his final shift as an air ambulance pilot in July 2017, he described how “there are things that cannot be unseen” and paid a personal tribute to the nation’s emergency services.

The Duke spoke of his “profound respect” for its men and women who deal with experiences “on a daily basis that they will carry with them for life”.

Lord Dannatt added that The Duke’s experience as well as his own 40 years with the Army meant that they both “understand what public service is”.

He added: “I think it’s part of our civic duty to do our best to help people in times of difficulty.”  

The NET will be fully operational from today and will have a “graduated” response to a domestic disaster, said Lord Dannatt, with funds expected to be in the hands of victims within five days. 

He added that should an incident such as Whaley Bridge occur again, this time “without warning” an appeal would be launched “within hours”. 

Lord Dannatt said that it was “extraordinary” that it had taken this long to set up such a charity, given that the Disasters Emergency Committee has been responding to overseas disasters for more than 50 years.