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Crisis as Thames Valley Air Ambulance faces 'unprecedented' £1m funding shortfall

Urgent plea for help as coronavirus wipes a fortune from charity coffers

John Garvey

John Garvey


01635 886628

Crisis as air ambulance faces 'unprecedented' £1m funding shortfall

THAMES Valley Air Ambulance has this week launched an “unprecedented” crisis appeal for help.

The urgent plea has been made because of an anticipated £1m fundraising income shortfall due to the coronavirus crisis.

The charity continues to provide its 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.

And charity chiefs fear the initial estimate of a £1m shortfall could be a significant understatement. It represents more than 10 per cent of the charity’s annual income. 

The majority of this loss is expected to have come from the cancellation and postponement of community and business fundraising events.

Consequently the 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.

Thames Valley Air Ambulance fundraising director Neil Harman 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 Oxford, 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 was dispatched to patients in need increased by more than 110 per cent.

In total, the charity’s teams of paramedics, doctors and pilots were called out to 2,670 patients across the region.

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Article comments

  • From Luddite Lodge

    20/05/2020 - 13:11

    Speaking the obvious but hope they raise the money