Newcastle Building Society flies in with £2,000 air ambulance grant Release date: 14th February A life-saving North East charity is stocking up on medical essentials after receiving a four-figure grant from its local Newcastle Building Society branch. The Great North Air Ambulance Service has brought in a range of new consumables to add to the equipment packs carried on its three helicopters, including defibrillator pads, carbon dioxide monitoring cables, blood pressure cuffs, ventilator breathing circuits, electrodes and printer roll. The £2,000 grant was awarded after the Service was nominated by Laura Simpson, a customer at the Society's Horsemarket branch in Darlington and the GNAAS's public liaison officer. It has been provided by the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation, which has been set up to provide grants to charities and community groups that are located in or around the communities served by the Society's branch network, and put forward for support by its customers. The Great North Air Ambulance Service covers an operational area of around 8,000 square miles across North East England, Cumbria and North Yorkshire. It has a 30-strong team of medical staff working on a rota basis, and received more 1,000 call outs to a wide range of incidents during its last financial year. The Service costs around £5.1m every year to operate and maintain, and is funded entirely through donations and fundraising by individuals, groups and businesses. Chief executive Grahame Pickering MBE says: "We're wholly reliant on donations from the public to keep the Service flying, and are always hugely thankful for the generous support we receive year after year from right across our operating area. "We never know what sort of incident our teams are going to be attending, and it can sometimes be the simplest pieces of kit that make the biggest difference to the patients we're helping. "The consumables that the Society's grant has enabled us to buy are essential parts of our on-board equipment packs, and we're grateful for the backing they've provided." The Newcastle Building Society Community Fund is run in association with the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland. Grant applications for a maximum of £3,000 can be made in any Society branch or via the newcastle.co.uk website by customers who wish to support their local communities. Since its launch in 2016, the Fund has contributed £142,000 in grants to projects across the Society's North East and Cumbria heartland, and is so far estimated to have had a positive impact on more than 77,000 people. Gemma Manson, manager at Newcastle Building Society's Darlington branch, says: “The Air Ambulance Service's dedication to helping people across the region in the most difficult of circumstances matches our own commitment to supporting our local communities, and we're proud to be supporting a charity that makes a difference to hundreds of families every year."