Air ambulance service makes final fundraising push for 24/7 service

The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) is making a final fundraising push to reach the goal of becoming a 24/7 service across the whole of the North.

The charity has launched several fundraisers on Facebook which could help fund essential pieces of equipment which are used in and around their cars to make their life-saving night shifts possible.

GNAAS provides an air ambulance service mainly in hours of daylight, while on a night, a paramedic and doctor operate on a rapid response vehicle in the North East and Cumbria most nights.

Last year, GNAAS’ critical care teams based in Eaglescliffe, in the North East, and Langwathby, Penrith in Cumbria responded to 745 incidents during the night on their rapid response vehicles.

If they had not been covering those evenings, that’s potentially 745 patients who would not have received the advanced level of care that GNAAS can bring to the scene.

In January, the service celebrated a year of providing critical care 24/7 in the North-East, and is hoping to provide the same coverage in Cumbria soon.

The charity, which currently needs to raise approximately £8.5m a year, launched an appeal in February to help raise enough funds to enable their critical care team to cover every night of the week, so that no matter when someone is need, the team is able to respond.

David Stockton, chief executive at GNAAS, said: “Unfortunately, these essential expansions mean that we need to raise even more funds than before to keep our life-saving service running. The frightening truth is that for 2024 we are predicting to run at a deficit. This means we will have to go into our limited reserves just to keep the charity flying this year.”

In order to continue responding during the night, the charity must have reliable cars, impeccable training, the best equipment, and ultimately, money.

To roll this service out across Cumbria and continue funding it throughout the North East, it will cost the charity nearly £500,000 annually.

In light of this, the charity has launched separate fundraisers on their Facebook page asking the public to help fund some of the items they need to operate on a night-time.

The first fundraiser posted on Monday was to help fuel the car for a week which costs, on average, £642.

They have also appealed for funding for a portable light system (£320) that is used for illuminating night-time incidents, enabling their teams to perform advanced procedures with precision.

Other essential piece of kits to be potentially funded include the blue light bar which costs £1,200 and is used to alert the general public to move aside and give way when the cars are travelling at high-speeds to an incident, four brand new all-season tyres, (£640) to help cover the 2,180 miles the team can travel over a week, and the green, white and yellow reflective livery of the cars which costs £1,600.

GNAAS is working hard to become a 24/7 service in order to save more lives at night across the North; this week, you can help them facilitate this by donating towards their nightshift essentials.

To support the fundraisers and find out more about each piece of kit, visit the charity’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GNairambulance