Thames Valley Air Ambulance has today (20/5) launched its first ever urgent appeal in response to an anticipated shortfall of £1 million in fundraising income.
The charity, the only pre-hospital advanced emergency critical care provider serving all those living and passing through Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire, continues to provide their usual critical care service but has recently also deployed its paramedics and doctors to serve alongside NHS colleagues within the region in response to pandemic.
This initial estimate of a £1 million shortfall could be a significant understatement. Nevertheless, it represents more than 10% of the charity’s annual income. With the majority of this loss expected to come from the cancelation and postponement of community and business fundraising events and efforts.
The local air ambulance service is calling on the public, where they are able to do so, to consider donating to help meet at least some of this shortfall. The charity has in its 21-year history been entirely funded by the public and community it serves and has not received any funding from the government or National Lottery.
Neil Harman, Thames Valley Air Ambulances Director of Fundraising, said: “We are truly in an unprecedented situation. Never before in our history have we anticipated such a large loss in fundraising over such a short period.
We do want to reassure the public, that whatever the response to our appeal, we will continue to provide lifesaving care in the immediate future and be on hand to back-up the NHS in our efforts to tackle the pandemic. We are calling on those that can give, to back us at this time and help us secure our service well into the future”.
While continuing to provide a pre-hospital critical care service during the pandemic via its helicopter and critical care response car, the charity has also covered the staffing costs of its doctors and paramedics taking shifts within the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxfordshire, providing a new inter-hospital transfer service for Covid-19 patients, and the additional training required for these new roles.
In the last financial year, the number of times Thames Valley Air Ambulance were dispatched to patients in need increased by more than 110%. In total, the charity’s teams of paramedics, doctors and pilots were called out to 2,670 patients across our region.
You can donate online by clicking here.