A year like no other

This week, I am reflecting on my first year as CEO of Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex. And it has been a year like no other, with the unprecedented devastation of the Coronavirus pandemic on our world, our communities and our very way of life. Remembering and honouring those who have lost their lives and been the worst affected by the pandemic should always be our priority.

But it has also been a year filled with collaboration and tenacity, of being responsive, adaptable and committed. At KSS, I am so incredibly proud and humbled by our amazing team who continue to both deliver our critical, life-saving service and inspire support to raise much needed funds. In the past year, we continue to play such a critical role in saving lives and ensuring the best possible patient outcomes; aiming for excellence in all we do as highlighted by our CQC Outstanding Rating achieved in February 2020, Outstanding in all five Key Lines of Enquiry – safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led.

I have always been immensely privileged to work in the charity sector, and never more than now while leading such an incredible organisation. The charity sector continues to be an instrumental part of our society which has come in to its own yet again in this time of crisis. To collaborate, inspire, drive innovation and show a steadfast determination to ensuring our communities continue to be supported and cared for. Charities have shown their capability as trusted, valued, collaborative partners to statutory services, and have both represented and cared for the most vulnerable in our society by rising to the challenge and working harder than ever before.

Charities only exist because individuals want to make a difference. The previous few months have been incredible witness to the power of philanthropy; of giving generously of time and resource for the benefit of others. The phenomenal response we received to our Coronavirus Emergency Appeal, raising over £1million inside 10 weeks, is testament to the innate desire among our communities to support each other and we remain forever grateful to our generous supporters for doing so. This has been replicated across the nation by the outpouring of support by those volunteering to help others, donating to emergency appeals, and offering their resources and expertise to support the national effort.

This pivotal event in our history has had a critical impact on our societies, our behaviours and our priorities. Its impact on the charity sector has created significant challenges such as restrictions to service delivery alongside an escalation in service demand, and a fundraising shortfall alongside donors concern about their own financial position. And yet many charities continue to exceed their own expectations and those of their beneficiaries, of embracing new ways of working to deliver their very best.

The pandemic will shape the future of the charity sector, with it still being too early to understand its true impact. However, it is our responsibility to ensure we do all we can to enable charities to both survive and thrive. Never more than before, the need for effective collaboration is paramount, of coming together as individuals, communities, and businesses to think differently about how we can best support the most vulnerable in our communities and achieve the best possible healthcare for everyone, where and when they need it. A new, innovative form of community philanthropy which builds on the freedom, agility and innovation that philanthropy brings.

I continue to be inspired by the commitment and resilience of our sector, and I look forward to what KSS can achieve in the coming year to help more of our patients achieve their best possible outcome.

I am utterly committed to ensuring we continue to put people at the heart of all we do; to be a truly people centred, purpose driven and value led organisation that generates and inspires commitment and trust. Our patients need us more than ever and we will strive to do our very best to ensure we can be there for all who need us.


David Welch, CEO of KSS
Our Chief Executive David Welch

Saving lives when every second counts

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