Air Ambulance Charity Kent Surrey Sussex (KSS) needs your support! Having just announced that 2022 was the busiest year in its 33-year history, the life-saving charity is urgently seeking to recruit more volunteers in order to help with more events and activities in the coming year.
The charity, which provides world-leading pre-hospital emergency care 24/7, currently has over 150 volunteers, who provide support through a wide range of activities including managing collection boxes, marshalling at events, speaking at community events, office tasks and more. Volunteers offer a few hours on an occasional basis or regular hours each month.
Bridget Pepper, from the KSS Volunteer Development Team said, “Our volunteers are highly valued members of Team KSS, and we are incredibly grateful to the 150 plus volunteers who currently donate their time to support us. Over the last year, KSS has benefited from over 4,000 hours of support from volunteers and our volunteers were involved with raising or collecting over £250,000 on our behalf.”
“This year, with demand for our service at an all-time high and the need to raise even more funds due to the increased costs of operating our service, we are ramping up our fundraising activity and planning to run more events than ever before. To do this, we need to recruit more volunteers and we have a wide range of opportunities available to suit people of all ages and abilities.”
“Whilst the charity benefits hugely from volunteers selflessly donating their time to us, we know that our volunteers enjoy many benefits from working with us, including meeting new people, attending events and feeling a sense of pride in supporting an incredible charity in their local community.”
One of KSS’s volunteers, Nigel Baxter from Guildford, Surrey shares his experience of being involved with KSS. He says, “I’ve been fascinated by flying since childhood so when I looked at what I could do after retiring as a teacher, it was not surprising that I chose something aeronautical. I read a magazine article by another KSS volunteer which captivated my interest and so I made enquiries.”
“As a volunteer my main focus is giving talks to groups. I enjoy both face-to-face and virtual meetings, though it is so much better and friendlier to be able to meet the audience in person. I’ve often been asked to pick up cheques from organisations that have kindly raised funds. These have ranged from supermarkets to dance clubs (and yes I danced!) to golf clubs where I have been treated to great hospitality. Being a golfer, I really enjoy these events.”
“Where I live in Surrey seems to be under the flight path of many helicopters and those from KSS are usually low enough to distinguish. It makes you thankful that they aren’t coming to you, but sad that someone requires the amazing services of the doctors and paramedics that this truly wonderful charity provides.”
“I’ve made some good friends amongst the volunteers and always enjoy visits to the bases, listening to the talks and generally finding out more about how the service works. Like many people I became a volunteer to give something back, but I get so much back in return.”
Bridget Pepper concludes, “We hope people from across the communities we serve will get in touch with us and find out more about how they can get involved. We really appreciate all the support we receive.”
KSS is an independent charity. It costs £16.6M a year or £45K per day to operate its world leading, life-saving service. This is a significant increase from the £15.2M required in 2022. 87% of KSS’s total income is raised through the incredible generosity of its supporters and 10% through NHS commissioning funds. If you are interested in finding out more about being a KSS volunteer, please contact [email protected] or visit www.aakss.org.uk
About Air Ambulance Charity Kent Surrey Sussex (KSS)
Operating out of Redhill Aerodrome and headquartered in Rochester, KSS provides world-leading pre-hospital emergency care whenever and wherever required to save lives and ensure the best possible patient outcomes. Its crews of pilots, doctors and paramedics responded to 3,224 incidents in 2022, the charity’s busiest year in its 33-year history – 64% of these were by helicopter and 36% by Rapid Response Vehicle. When the call comes KSS can reach any part of Kent, Surrey and Sussex in under 30 minutes, bringing the emergency room to the scene to deliver life-saving care.
KSS was the first Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) in the country to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week and the first UK HEMS to be rated Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission in all five of its inspection key lines of enquiry: safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led (2020). KSS has received multiple awards in recognition of its innovation, performance and strong governance, including Charity Times Charity of the Year 2020 (income more than £10M), Charity Times Charity Leader of the Year 2021 (CEO David Welch), Kent Charity of the Year 2021, and Charity Staff Member of the Year (Patient and Family Aftercare Manager Sarita Taneja) at the Air Ambulances UK Awards of Excellence 2022.
Each year, the charity must raise £16.6M – equivalent to £45K per day – to operate its life-saving service, with 87% of its total income raised through the generosity of its supporters. KSS receives 10% through NHS commissioning funds. For further information about KSS, please visit www.aakss.org.uk
Image: Air Ambulance Charity Kent Surrey Sussex needs more volunteers following its busiest year in 2022