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Air ambulance in Ireland still hopes to provide service

Air ambulance in Ireland still hopes to provide service

The air ambulance charity in Northern has relaunched its website and a detailed rebuttal of claims made in the media about its fundraising and expenses.

The website says that the organisation is still fundraising but accepts that media reports, particularly by the BBC, has damaged its fundraising income. Last year, a BBC investigation revealed that 90% of the money collected by the Ireland Air Ambulance Charity in its first year went on wages and overheads.

The charity does admit that it still does not have an agreement with the statutory sector in relation to the use of an air ambulance.

“We’re currently awaiting feedback from the statutory stakeholders in Northern Ireland as to how the Minister wishes to progress the question of a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service,” a charity spokesperson said.

Air ambulance has also appointed a new board — Liam Creagh, Peter Fearon ,John Hutchinson, Mal McGreevy, Michael Montgomery and Aidan Rice.

The new website includes a section called ‘Was it a scam?’ The answer it gives is ‘no’ but the organisation admits that it doesn’t know if it will succeed in establishing an air ambulance in Northern Ireland.

In the meantime, the organisation says it needs to raise £1.5 million annually to run the service.

Paul Artherton has a BA (Hons) Degree from Queen’s University and a MA Degree in Journalism from Pennsylvania State University. He has worked in PR and fundraising for over 27 years. Previously assistant director for fundraising and public relations at the Simon Community Northern Ireland for seven years, for the last 17 years he has run his own fundraising consultancy business specialising in fundraising, sponsorship, public relations and recruitment. His clients have included charities, private sector and public bodies. Examples include the Ulster Cancer Foundation, Simon Communities of Ireland, NI Hospice, North and West Belfast Health and Social Services Trust, Aiken Promotions, the Industrial Development Board and the Ulster Museum. He has lectured on voluntary sector management at Queens University Belfast Institute for Continuing Education. Since 2010 Paul has been a lay member of the NI Charity Tribunal.

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