AIDS Week events have been hit by cash problems after a government trust fund failed to approve grants in time. Projects organised for this week's campaign had to be scrapped or cut after grant applications to the AIDS Trust Fund Council were either approved too late or not at all. AIDS Concern, one of the three main groups involved in Hong Kong AIDS Week, heard its grant application had finally won approval less than two weeks before the event was due to start. Executive administrator of AIDS Concern Lisa Ross said: ''Because of the delay we were forced to hold back the printing and production of publicity material until the last minute and find sponsors to help us fund events.'' The $350 million AIDS Trust Fund was set up in March by the Government, with $200 million allocated for medical and support services for HIV carriers and $50 million for education and publicity. But Ms Ross said there had been problems getting the money to the community and guidelines for its use were needed. ''The money has not been distributed as fast as it should have been and the review process for grant applications needs to be better structured,'' she added. The cash-strapped organisation was eventually told it would get $246,900 from the trust fund for AIDS Week projects, but not before the programme of events had been adversely affected. Ms Ross said: ''We did intend to have 30 flames of life in different parts of the territory to mark AIDS Week but the candle holders had to be ordered before the grant was approved and so we could only have 10 made.'' But a government spokesman said there had been no hold-up in grant approval to AIDS Concern after the application was received on October 18. ''In view of the short time available between receipt of the application and AIDS Week, it was put forward for approval by circulation rather than wait for the next formal meeting,'' the spokesman said. But the Hong Kong AIDS Memorial Quilt Project is still waiting for its $300,000 grant to be approved after applying to the fund early last month. The project is being forced to operate from volunteers' homes with inadequate equipment and little material because it cannot afford to rent a workshop or buy machinery. Sister Maureen McGinley, one of the project's founders, said: ''Volunteers have had to use their own money to make the quilts with very limited resources which has put a lot of extra pressure on us. ''We are only asking for a small fraction of the fund's money to continue making these quilts for clients who have died. They give a lot of comfort to bereaved relatives and friends. ''People are dying of AIDS now and I think it is important that this money gets to the people who need it most as soon as possible.'' Despite its difficulties, the project has managed to make five quilts to add to the 11 produced last year to form one giant quilt which will be unveiled at the Hilton Hotel on World AIDS Day tomorrow. The Hong Kong AIDS Foundation, which has organised AIDS Week in conjunction with AIDS Concern and the Health Department, said its grant application had been approved a few weeks ago. Its chief executive Tong Kin-sang said: ''We worked on the assumption that we would get the funding because we felt the Government was generally supportive.''