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Getting rescue helicopter’s stories out

rescue missionGetting the news out about a crucial Hawke’s Bay emergency service is important, both to keep the public up-to-date on its services and to encourage the donations it needs to keep it in the air.

The Hawke’s Bay Rescue Helicopter Trust needs to raise $1.3 million a year to keep the life-saving service operating. Trust chairman Peter Dunkerley says fundraising is key to the emergency service’s ability to respond to medical events and accidents when getting a patient to hospital as quickly as possible is critical.

A crucial part of the fundraising strategy is being able to get the service’s stories and messages out to its sponsors and supporters.

Hastings District Council has again supported that work this financial year, granting $5506 towards the publishing and distribution of the twice-yearly newsletter to 10,000 people. The money comes from Council’s Contestable Grants Fund which is distributed annually to groups developing or delivering a community service or project which fits with Council’s aim of “building a safe, liveable, sustainable community”. Council is profiling successful applicants from the 2017/18 grants round.

Mr Dunkerley says the newsletters are an important part of the trust’s communication strategy. “It is particularly important that we produce a print version of our newsletter to distribute to those people we do not reach through our web page and social media outlets.

“In 2016 donations in response to our printed newsletter raised in excess of $40,000. That figure covers our annual crew training costs, so we cannot underestimate its value.”

The newsletters share stories of rescues, mission statistics, funding updates and event invitations, and profile fundraising heroes and rescue helicopter team members.

Council’s social and cultural development committee chairman Malcolm Dixon said the trust provided a crucial service to the region and Council was very pleased to support it. “This is an example of a great result coming from what, in the scheme of things, is quite a small amount of funding. There would not be too many grants of this size that we make that would achieve a measurable return of $40,000 for the charity concerned.”

Every year the rescue helicopter carries out more than 300 rescue missions, covering the area from the Takapau Plains and Porangahau in the South, to Waikaremoana and Mahia Peninsula to the North. The registered charity’s services are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and are free.

Of the annual $2.3m operating cost to run the service, about $1m is funded by service agreements with entities such as the district health board and ACC. 

31 January 2018

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