Teams from across the University of Leeds Facilities Directorate, which includes MEETinLEEDS, Great Food at Leeds and Deli(very), have nominated the local charity to support for 2016/2017 as the Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA).
The YAA is a rapid response air emergency service that serves a population of approximately 5 million people across 4 million acres. The fast medical response that the Air Ambulance service provides is vital to a patient who has received major trauma, especially those with head and spinal injuries, as the Air Ambulance can avoid traffic congestion and uneven road surfaces to get patients to hospital within the “Golden Hour“.
On average, when a patient has been received by the YAA, they will always be only 10 minutes from the nearest hospital and 15 minutes from the most relevant treatment centre, as the 2 helicopters they have can reach speeds of up to 160 mph and cover the whole of the region seven days a week, 365 days a year. To keep both of Yorkshire’s air ambulances in the air they need to raise £12,000 per day, which is equivalent to £4.4 million per year.
We welcomed back our former Sales & Marketing Director Richard Handscombe, who retired from MEETinLEEDS 2 years ago and is now a volunteer for YAA, as he presented information to staff at the University of Leeds about the history, importance and future of the charity.
“The charity was set up in October 2000 with 1 helicopter and a crew of 2 flying from Leeds Bradford Airport. Following Richard Hammond’s drag racing accident while filming Top Gear in 2006, in which he was flown to Leeds General Infirmary by the Air Ambulance, there were a number of generous donations from the public totalling over £250,000 and enabled us to buy a second helicopter. This also led to the BBC commissioning the “Helicopter Heroes” programme, which follows the work of our lifesaving workers.
As demand for the service has increased so have the need for donations. Since 2000 we have made 6583 missions and currently average 3 per day. The YAA is an independent charity and is entirely dependent upon donations: the government funding takes the form of the paramedics that are seconded from the Yorkshire Ambulance Service. An annual donation of 80p from every Yorkshire resident would cover the cost of the service. They save lives… One day it could be yours.”
Carrie Cheeseman, now a YAA volunteer, found this out when she and her two young children, Maxwell and Scarlett were hit by a car just a fortnight before she was due to get married. You can read the full remarkable story on the YAA website.
The University of Leeds will be holding a number of events throughout the year to raise money and awareness for the charity, so follow MEETinLEEDS and the Yorkshire Air Ambulance on Twitter (@meetinleeds and @YorkshireAirAmb) for the latest news.