Two thirds of people in London are not aware that we are a charity


Wednesday 28th June 2017

  • Survey finds that 8 out of 10 people have heard of the London’s Air Ambulance service
  • However two thirds do not believe or are not sure if London’s Air Ambulance is a charity
  • Over the last few years the charity has focused on acquiring a second helicopter and securing extended daylight flying hours, with these aims achieved it will now focus on challenge of increasing awareness of its charitable status
  • New CEO’s challenge will be to increase understanding of its charitable status amongst the 10 million people living and working within the M25

During a recent brand review survey carried out by London’s Air Ambulance, it was revealed that 63% of people in London do not believe or are not sure if we are a charity. This is despite 80% of respondents saying they have heard of our service before. The survey, which asked 1,093 people in London (a representative sample of Londoners) about their awareness and understanding of our brand, also revealed that a relatively low number of people understand the specific role our service plays. The research was delivered by NFP Synergy. 

Whilst 37% of people know London’s Air Ambulance is a charity, other charities operating within emergency infrastructure have considerably higher recognition of their charitable status (53% for RNLI and 74% for the British Red Cross). This discrepancy may be due to the fact that, on average, people believe 47% of funding for London’s Air Ambulance comes from either the NHS, central government or local government. The charity is supported by doctors and paramedics on paid secondment from Barts Health NHS Trust and the London Ambulance Service respectively, but the majority of its income comes from public donations.

There was also confusion around the services London’s Air Ambulance provides. When asked to select activities carried out by the charity, respondents mostly chose those associated with transporting patients. 61% thought ‘transporting patients to hospital’ was one of our key functions, while 59% selected ‘transporting patients to hospital from hard to access areas.’ In fact, the main function of London’s Air Ambulance is to deliver a doctor and paramedic team, either by aircraft or rapid response car, to the scene of a critically injured patient to provide treatment only usually found in a hospital emergency department – this includes open chest surgery, anaesthesia, blood transfusions and advanced pain relief.

A patient will only be transported to hospital by London’s Air Ambulance in 20% of cases attended by helicopter. In the remaining cases, the London’s Air Ambulance medical team will travel by road with the London Ambulance Service to take the patient to hospital, as this is usually the most appropriate method of transporting critically injured patients in London.

Jonathan Jenkins, CEO of London's Air Ambulance, said:"The results of our brand research confirm what we as an organisation already suspected. In my early days as CEO, I have quickly learned that one of our greatest challenges is spreading the message that London's Air Ambulance is a charity.

"After our involvement in the tragic incidents at Westminster and London Bridge supporters organically took to social media to share that fact. You could see that people were shocked to find out our service relies primarily on donations from the public, and there is clearly a lot of work still to be done to inform people of our charity status. 

“Over the past few years our charity has been focused on acquiring our second helicopter and extending our daylight flying hours so we can better serve the people of London. Now that we’ve achieved that goal, our next challenge is about increasing awareness that we are a charity, which will hopefully in turn grow our supporter base.

"Support from local communities is vital as we build that awareness. We are a service funded by the people of London for the people of London, and community spirit is right at the heart of everything we do. I would like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to our supporters as we couldn’t help critically injured people in London without you.”

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