Air Ambulance charity calls for volunteers to help fundraising take off

The air ambulance.
The air ambulance.

Local charity, Air Ambulance Northern Ireland (AANI), has issued a call for volunteers to support them with their fundraising activity for 2018.

A total of 400 volunteers are needed to help AANI in its efforts to raise the £2million needed to keep the Air Ambulance NI operating its vital service for a full year.

AANI, in partnership with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS), provides the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) for the region and from its base in Lisburn it can reach any part of Northern Ireland in approximately 25 minutes. The service’s primary role is to deliver advanced critical care, benefitting those whose lives are at serious risk following significant injury or trauma by bringing urgent medical assistance directly to the patient at the scene. The air ambulance has been tasked on over 280 missions since it launched in July 2017.

AANI estimates that this year they will be attending over 300 events across Northern Ireland where they will need the support and enthusiasm of local volunteers to help with their fundraising activity.

The events range from awareness stands in shopping centres to community and fundraising events organised by members of the public which are taking place the length and breadth of Northern Ireland. Two headline events in 2018 are the North West 200 from 13-19 May, where AANI is the official charity partner, and The Balmoral Show from 16-19 May which is just next to the charity’s helicopter base in Lisburn.

Cathal Cunning, an AANI volunteer from Portstewart said: “Volunteering with AANI gives me huge satisfaction as fundraising and raising awareness of the charity can help save lives. I would encourage anyone to volunteer because of how rewarding it is and even if you only have a few hours, that’s enough. Each time Air Ambulance NI is tasked to an emergency, that’s my reward.”

Air Ambulance NI has organised a series of information sessions for people who are interested in getting involved in volunteering to learn about the types of volunteer opportunities that are available. Local volunteer information sessions have been organised for Saturday 21 April at the Student Union, QUB in Belfast from 2pm – 4pm, on Saturday 28 April at Tesco, Ballymoney from 11am - 3 pm and on Saturday 14 April at Auction House, Market Yard in Larne from 10am – 12pm.

Grace Williams, AANI Area Fundraising Manager for Belfast and Antrim said, “A range of volunteer roles are available to suit your skills and time available. For example, it may be that you want to help at a couple of events each year; or you could volunteer in your own time, placing collection boxes in your own community. Or it may suit you to undertake training to become a Community Volunteer where you’d be proactively speaking about the charity and encouraging local support. We are also keen to develop a number of voluntary fundraising groups in Northern Ireland, so there are plenty of opportunities. If you would like to get involved please contact us by email at info@airambulanceni.org or call us on 028 9262 2677.

“For those who want to support the charity but cannot volunteer, we’d encourage you to become a member of Club AANI. For a weekly donation of just £2, Club AANI members will receive free branded goodies, on-going discounts from high street retail brands, as well as flash merchandise offers, and an invitation to our annual members’ event. It’s a simple way to donate and we hope those who can join will do so.”

For more information please visit Air Ambulance NI’s Facebook page, visit www.airambulanceni.org or call on 028 9262 2677.