FUNDRAISING NEWS: NHS throws £2.2m cash lifeline to air ambulance trusts

Fledgling air ambulance charities have been thrown a lifeline in the form of a £2.2 million cash boost.

The NHS has also promised to provide the £150,000 required to staff every air ambulance in England with a paramedic crew.

Five charities will benefit from the funding, which has been awarded by health minister Hazel Blears. The services based in Yorkshire, the north west, Dorset and Somerset, East Anglia, Thames Valley and Chiltern areas will split the £2.2 million, which will go towards operational costs.

Blears said: "We realise that it takes time for local air ambulance charities, particularly new ones, to build their fundraising base. This £2.2 million will make sure that, via local ambulance trusts, air ambulance charities not yet in a position to meet their full-running costs are supported until they have funding from other public and corporate sources."

The announcement follows the end of the AA's three-year sponsorship deal, which helped areas across England set up helicopter ambulance services.

The sponsorship deal ceased on 31 March.

There are 12 air ambulance charities in England that raise an estimated £8 million a year in funding.

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