Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust charity (SASH) and the Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex would typically have been supported by the airport through fundraising initiatives, promotional events and donations over the past 18 months. However, due to the pandemic curtailing many in-person events, Gatwick has decided to continue its support for the charities beyond its usual two-year term.
This will enable SASH, who were only voted as Gatwick’s newest charity partner in early 2020 by staff at the airport, in particular to benefit from an additional two years of support from the airport.
The Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex became an official Gatwick charity in April 2018, with the partnership being renewed in 2020, while a third official partner, Gatwick TravelCare, has been an on-site charity at the airport since 1984 and will continue to be a partner indefinitely.
Melanie Wrightson, Stakeholder Engagement Manager, Gatwick Airport said: “We take huge pride in being able to support our official charity partners at Gatwick, helping them raise vital funds and provide invaluable services to the local community.
“Due to Covid-19, we obviously have been unable to support our charities in the usual manner over the past 18 months, so we are excited to be able to extend our partnerships with both SASH and Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex, who both do incredible work in the local communities surrounding the airport and are charities very close to many associated with Gatwick.
“Gatwick TravelCare remains a long-term charity partner, being based on-site at the airport, and we look forward to being able to continue our support for their brilliant work, assisting our passengers with travel-related problems here at the airport.”
Andrew Bickerdike, Head of Charity, SASH said: “We are delighted to have the support of Gatwick Airport, and passengers and staff for the local hospitals. As the airport, our community, and our hospitals recover from the last two years, we are genuinely excited about the potential for this partnership to raise funds to help the hospitals go above and beyond for people here in Surrey and Sussex.”
Julie Clare, Head of Corporate Relations, Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex said: “We are delighted that Gatwick Airport has chosen to extend its support of our charity until December 2023. We have proudly been one of Gatwick’s charity partners since 2018, in which time they have raised an incredible £120,000 for our charity, helping ensure we can continue providing the best possible care for our patients across Kent, Surrey and Sussex. We owe everyone at Gatwick Airport and all of their generous supporters our heartfelt thanks and appreciation. We look forward to continuing our partnership, working closely to raise more funds for our life-saving service.”
Despite the pandemic, Gatwick has still been able to support its charities in various ways over the past 18 months. Gatwick firefighters completed a relay marathon on the airport’s main runway in June 2020 to raise money for SASH, while sales of face coverings within the airport also include a donation to our charities. Gatwick and its partners, including Harrods and Nandos, donated goods to SASH workers at the height of the pandemic, while airport staff came up with creative ways to support the ‘Clap for Carers’ initiative, to say thank you for the valuable work of frontline workers across the country.
Over the coming years, Gatwick also plans to extend its charity and community investment, as a result of its proposals to develop its Northern Runway, which will enable it to be brought into routine use alongside its Main Runway.
Gatwick has already developed a strong programme of community investment as part of its approach to sustainable growth and aims to continue to invest in the local community through continued funding, to enable communities to benefit fully from the effects of the airport’s growth proposals.
Alongside fundraising and support for its three charity partners, some of Gatwick’s key funding initiatives include the Gatwick Foundation Fund, Gatwick Airport Community Trust, Gatwick Greenspace Partnership and the Sustainable Transport Fund.
Gatwick has started a 12-week public consultation on the Northern Runway plans, which closes on 1 December. Full consultation materials are available on the www.gatwickairport.com/futureplans web pages along with a virtual exhibition and an option to book a telephone surgery with project experts or to request a virtual briefing for local stakeholder groups.