David Welch, CEO of Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex (KSS), has been shortlisted by Charity Times for its Charity Leader of the Year Award 2021 – a national award which celebrates excellence amongst charities and not for profit organisations from across the UK and honours the outstanding professionals in charity management.


David is one of seven finalists in this category for the prestigious awards, which recognised KSS as winner of its Charity of the Year Award 2020, with an income of more than £10 million.


With David at the helm, KSS has delivered outstanding results as a world-leading, Air Ambulance charity at the forefront of Helicopter Emergency Medical Services.


Since joining the life-saving charity in 2019, David has been an inspiring leader to a highly skilled, diverse, multi-disciplinary team of 135 staff including doctors, paramedics, dispatchers, pilots, fundraisers, marketers and support staff, and 170 volunteers. A clear priority for David was to ensure the wellbeing of Team KSS, working tirelessly, spending endless hours engaging with and developing his team. He has championed new wellbeing initiatives and has introduced a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, creating a just culture within KSS.


Amongst his many achievements as CEO, David has led the team to overturn a predicted £2.9M deficit throughout 2020-2021, delivering the charity’s most successful year in its 32-year history, despite the unprecedented challenges of operating during the pandemic. In addition, under his leadership KSS became the first Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) to achieve an Outstanding rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in all five key lines of enquiry: safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led.


David Welch, CEO, KSS: “It is a great privilege to lead such a committed and dedicated team and I’m delighted to have been shortlisted for this prestigious award.  Being recognised in this way is a real validation of the enthusiasm and hard work of the whole of Team KSS. All of our crew, staff, trustees and volunteers are focused on maintaining and developing our world-leading care, so that we achieve the very best outcomes for our patients and I would like to thank everyone whose hard work and passion have helped to make KSS what it is today.”


Dr Helen Bowcock, Chair of KSS Board: “David has shown exceptional dedication and commitment to leading our organisation through challenging times. His compassionate style of leadership has motivated our people to keep striving for continuous improvement to provide the best possible treatment and care for our patients. He thoroughly deserves the recognition gained through being shortlisted for this prestigious award.”


Charity Times Awards, now in their 22nd year, celebrate and promote best practice in the UK’s charity and not for profit sector, contribute towards raising the standards of charity management and provide recognition for those who are delivering effective support to the sector. A list of finalists is available here. Winners will be announced on 9th September 2021.


Photo: David Welch, KSS CEO (pictured second from right) has been shortlisted for the Charity Times Charity Leader of the Year 2021 Award