The Charitable side of... The Met Office

Graham Willgoss

Although its current forecasts won't win it any friends, the Met Office positively rains money down on good causes.

The freezing weather probably hasn't inspired charitable thoughts about the Met Office recently. But the organisation itself has good charitable credentials - it gave a home to Michael Fish for 42 years and does a fair amount for good causes, some of them connected to its work.

It has given regularly to the Gemini Radio Charitable Trust since it moved its headquarters from Berkshire to Devon in 2003. The Exeter-based trust provides funds for education, community services, health facilities and the arts in the local area.

"We get a lot of requests, but we have a small charity budget," explained a Met Office spokesman. "Gemini is able to spread itself a lot better than we can. Supporting it means we can indirectly support a number of smaller charities in the area in an even-handed way."

His charitable forecast for the year was also good. Met Office staff intend to get involved in supporting World Water Day and will take part in Water Aid's Give an Hour appeal, through which they will donate an hour's wages to the charity.

The weathermen have also teamed up with the RNLI to create the Marinecall initiative, through which sailors can request a weather forecast for a specific location. Using telephone and fax numbers dedicated to the RNLI, seafarers using the facility will make a contribution to the institution's funds every time they request a forecast.

And last December the meteorologists themselves made a £1,000 donation to the lifeboat charity. They used electronic Christmas cards in place of the paper ones they usually send out and gave away the money they saved.

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