Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA) – which is celebrating its seventh anniversary – has welcomed lifeline funding from the UK Government.
Mental health, ambulance, autism and dementia charities are among those who will receive a share of £22 million to help them meet increased and changing demand as a result of Covid-19.
SCAA, which recently launched Helimed 79, based at Aberdeen Airport, will benefit alongside fellow UK air ambulance charities from part of a £6 million emergency support grant.
David Craig, chief executive of the charity, said the funding would help “mitigate” a gap in their fundraising caused by the pandemic.
He said: “It costs around £4 million a year to sustain our two life-saving helicopter operations and our frontline crews have been operational seven days a week as normal throughout this lockdown period to respond to the needs of those seriously ill or injured in Scotland.
“Like every other charity, our reduced ability to fundraise at what is normally our busiest and most productive time of year will undoubtedly result in a substantial reduction in income.”
Mr Craig stressed, however, that the continued support of the Scottish public would be SCAA’s strongest ally in these difficult times.
He added: “It is the Scottish public that ensures our service stays in the air and they who have contributed £30 million in the past seven years to sustain this life-saving charity.
“We can only continue to provide our vital emergency response to communities all across Scotland and our many islands thanks to the public’s unfailing support, for which we are truly grateful.”
Nadine Dorries, Minister of State for Patient Safety, Suicide Prevention and Mental Health, announced the new funding yesterday.
She said: “The funding we are providing today – alongside £5 million already awarded to mental health charities – will help to give these organisations a much-needed boost during this outbreak so that they can keep doing what they do best.”