Jan 18 2013 by Gordon Bannerman, Perthshire Advertiser
Perth-based transport group Stagecoach has pledged to donate £100,000 to support a new air ambulance for Scotland.
The Dunkeld Road company has agreed to make an annual donation of £20,000 for the next five years to Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA) based at Perth Airport.
The money will go towards funding Scotland’s first and only charity-funded air ambulance helicopter. SCAA was formed in 2010 and last November was approved by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Ambulance Service who will deploy the new aircraft when it goes into service.
The air ambulance will help deliver a more extensive front-line emergency response service across the country and will support the service’s two existing publicly-funded choppers based in Glasgow and Inverness.
The charity hopes to raise £1.5 million to launch the new aircraft. Thanks to donations from Stagecoach and other organisations, SCAA’s fundraising campaign is already starting to take off and hopes are high for a spring launch for Scotland’s newest lifesaving resource. In addition, a further £1.5million will be needed to sustain the SCAA helicopter each year.
Stagecoach Group chief executive Sir Brian Souter said: “This air ambulance will help support the wonderful job done by our emergency services at the moment. We are delighted to be able to support the launch of this important new service which will help save lives and make a real difference to people across Scotland.”
SCAA chairman John Bullough said they were “extremely grateful” for the generosity shown by one of the UK’s biggest public transport groups.
“As a major transport operator, Stagecoach knows the vital need for speedy response when things go wrong,” he said. “SCAA will enhance and expand immediate emergency medical response across Scotland, saving lives and bringing vital relief to those most in need.
“When Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance launches for service in the spring it will be flying into the heart of every community in the country. But we can’t do it without the support of the public and the business community and Stagecoach has provided a fantastic donation which will help this lifesaving charity fly.”
Stagecoach also previously donated £10,000 to SCAA in 2010 and invests a half to one percent of profits from its transport operations in good causes.
It match-funds charity activities by its employees, and contributes free transport and employee secondments. Further information about SCAA can be found at www.scaa.org.uk