Statement from the Yorkshire Air Ambulance regarding the updated impact of COVID-19 on the Charity

Back in March, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA) estimated that there could potentially be a deficit of around £420,000 from cancelled fundraising events during the 2020 summer period.

As COVID-19 and its impact continues to progress into the autumn and winter months, fundraising activity is still significantly decreased, mainly because larger gatherings are still prohibited.  As a result, the life-saving emergency service Charity has seen a much larger hit to their financial income than initially predicted, and as such, now estimate that fundraising deficit for the Charity stands in the region of £1.2M.

Peter Sunderland, Chairman, commented: “Like many Charities and businesses across the UK, the YAA has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.  It really has been the most challenging time for our teams, with strict restrictions still in place across much of the county, and most events being cancelled due to stringent social distancing measures. Whilst we have adapted to the new fundraising climate with virtual events and digital fundraising activities, this has been unable to replace the income that would have been generated from many of our larger events that take place annually.

Thanks to our previous foresight to plan for unexpected events, the YAA is currently able to continue carrying out our day to day operations at both our airbases.  However, the additional £1.2M income that we had budgeted for this year would have been hugely beneficial for building our reserves to ensure the continued stability of the Charity, and plans we have for future advancements and developments.”

Peter continued: “Our fundraising, marketing and administrative teams have been working extremely hard to continue raising the profile of the YAA within local communities, businesses and organisations, and generate much needed funds using new innovative methods and engaging creative ideas such as our 20th anniversary virtual balloon race and online activities.”

The Charity, which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary, provides two rapid-response emergency helicopters across the Yorkshire region.  Last year alone they treated nearly 1,150 patients after serious incidents.

Helen Callear, Director of Fundraising added, “Although it has been an incredibly challenging year for the team at the YAA, we have greatly benefitted from the hard work and support we have kindly received in the past, in riding out this crisis.  We have an incredibly loyal donor base, who we could not be more grateful to for their continued support.  We have worked hard to reduce our cost base in fundraising to the minimum, with use of technology like online Zoom meetings and presentations, and have also made it our absolute priority to keep in close contact with as many supporters as possible during the pandemic.  We are so fortunate that many of our supporters have also grown to become friends over the years.  Where various fundraising events have been able to take place, we have been proud to continue to offer support to everyone.”

Helen continued: “We are currently working on delivering more digital and hybrid fundraising events to enable us to adapt to the changing and challenging regional COVID-19 landscape, and keep everyone safe, and feel positive that the people of Yorkshire will continue to appreciate and support the life-saving air ambulance service we are still able to continue to provide.”

Peter concluded: “We have continued to be overwhelmed by the generosity of our supporters as we entered our 20th operational year this October and I would like to sincerely thank everyone who has taken time to contact us with messages of support.  However COVID aside, the services of the two Yorkshire Air Ambulance helicopters continues to be required every day, and we will do everything we can to ensure the future of this life-saving Charity”


Issued by Yorkshire Air Ambulance Communications team.

For further information, please contact Jessica McDonnell, PR and Communications Officer on, or 07384 517 193.