Whenever I look up into the sky and see a red helicopter, I feel immensely proud of being a volunteer for the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity.
I joined the team in 2018 after having searched for volunteering opportunities with a local charity. The values cherished by the charity and the fact that the service is lifesaving made it an easy choice to make. Since then I have never looked back and feel so much part of the MAAC family.
The Midlands Air Ambulance Charity was formed in 1991 with just one helicopter. Now there are three, providing a pre-hospital service to a population of six million people, 365 days a year, across the six counties of Staffordshire, West Midlands, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire and Gloucestershire. The helicopters are based strategically at Tatenhill, RAF Cosford and Strensham, in order to reach and treat patients as fast as possible. Recent additions to the service are two critical care cars enabling MAAC to provide even more patients with advanced critical care, as well as accessing areas more challenging for the helicopter, such as towns and cities. The cars and helicopters are staffed by a doctor and one or two critical care paramedics, providing hospital level care and medication on site rather than waiting until the patient arrives at hospital, thus increasing the chance of recovery and survival. The incidents most frequently attended are cardiac, road traffic accidents, falls and collapses, stabbings and sports related.
Each helicopter mission costs £2500 and each critical care call out £224. Demand for the service is growing by 25% year-on-year even during the pandemic, making MAAC one of the busiest Air Ambulances in the UK. The clinical teams work long hours and face potential risk from Covid-19 as they continue to deliver high quality care to their patients. This incredible work is made possible by the generosity of the public and local businesses as Midlands Air Ambulance receives no government funding for it’s daily missions.
The current pandemic has had an impact on fundraising, resulting in a significant shortfall, due to the temporary closure of the charitie’s shops in Walsall, West Bromwich, Telford and Newcastle-Under-Lyme and the postponement of events which would have funded many potentially lifesaving missions. Undeterred, MAAC has turned to virtual fundraising including a virtual bucket collection, a home-based ‘Bake Off’, virtual open days at two airbases, online quizzes and sponsored events.
The Midlands Air Ambulance Charity has taken care of it’s volunteers during Covid-19; telephoning to ensure we are well and offering help where needed. We have been able to join in several activities from home, but cannot wait until we can resume the wonderful events where we get to meet so many people who are interested in the work of the charity.
We are always looking for volunteers and supporters so if you would like to know how to get involved, then please have a look at our website. It’s great fun working with such a wonderful team!