Great North Air Ambulance Service Community Fundraiser, Joanne Murphy with Circular 1 Health's Rapid COVID-19 tests, donated as part of their mission to keep the service flying in operation.

The Great North Air Ambulance Service has found a unique way of supporting its community fundraising team – by partnering with Circular 1 Health to offer COVID-19 test and screening services for any employees who wish to take part.

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

A regime of weekly testing and screening performed by Circular 1 Health scientists is available to all GNAAS staff members, 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 1,200 incidents in 2020 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 (headquartered in Carlisle), says he is delighted to offer the testing kits and access to his laboratories for this 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.”

Operating throughout the North East, Cumbria and North Yorkshire, the Great North Air Ambulance Service costs more than £5m annually to run and is entirely funded through charitable donations.