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The Great North Air Ambulance Service has found a clever way of supporting its fundraising team in the community – by partnering with local firm Circular 1 Health to offer COVID-19 test and screening services for any employee wishing to take part.

More than 400 COVID testing kits are being donated by Circular 1 Health every four weeks to GNAAS’ bases at Progress House, near Eaglescliffe in County Durham, and Langwathby in north Cumbria.

A regime of weekly testing and screening performed by Circular 1 Health scientists is available to all staff working for GNAAS, since the offices are shared with the aircrew and clinical staff.

Jim Entwistle, Head of Marketing and Communications for GNAAS, says that all charity fundraising has been severely hampered by the pandemic: “Despite the strain on resources, we still responded to 1200 incidents last year and expect this year to be busier as we come out of lockdown and visitors and local people take advantage of our beautiful countryside.

“We never take the support of business and the public for granted and thanks to the generosity of Circular 1 Health, we have the option of regular testing as part of a series of measures to help our team to actively resume their fundraising activities.”

Stuart Maclennan, the founder of Circular 1 Health which is headquartered in Carlisle, says he is delighted to offer the testing kits and access to his laboratories for such a worthwhile charity: “It’s a privilege for me and the team to know that we’re playing a small part in helping the air ambulance to ultimately save lives by offering a service that supports its people, its pilots and its clinical teams.”

The Great North Air Ambulance Service costs more than £5 million p.a to run and is entirely funded through charitable donations. It operates throughout the North East, Cumbria and North Yorkshire.

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Emergency-Services Ireland