The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) is on call 365 days of the year, saving hundreds of lives each year by bringing specialist pre-hospital emergency treatment by helicopter to accidents and emergencies across the North.
On average, the charity is called to around 1,000 incidents every year from its bases at Teesside, Cumbria and satellite operation at Newcastle Airport, supporting people across the North East, Cumbria and North Yorkshire with a consultant-led trauma team.
Although GNAAS responds to calls from the North East, North West and Yorkshire Ambulance Services, it is a charity that depends solely on donations to operate. Since 2001, it has run the Great North Air Ambulance Trading Company (GNAAT), a wholly-owned subsidiary that collects clothes, recycles printer cartridges and old mobile phones, and collects office waste paper and documents for shredding. The profits from these activities all go towards supporting GNAAS’s vital work.
UNW was appointed as auditor for the charity and its trading subsidiary in 2013 following some initial consultancy work. Under separate arrangements the charity has also utilised the services of UNW employment tax and VAT specialists on an ad-hoc basis.
Deborah Lewis-Bynoe, director of charity services at GNAAS, said: “UNW are well placed to provide advice and guidance to the charity and SME sector and we have been very happy with the expertise they have brought to our organisation.
“The UNW team are entirely supportive in their role and we look forward to our future working partnership.”
Anne Hallowell, Head of Charity and Not for Profit at UNW, has been working with GNAAS since the start of the charity’s relationship with UNW.
She said: “We were initially brought in to improve the management structure and control, whilst also looking at training the team. We worked on the systems and processes to improve the quality, and were then asked to take on the audit assignment.
“On the back of the work carried out, GNAAS recruited Deborah and it now has a much stronger management team in place.”
UNW works with around 40 charities of different sizes, providing support for vital back office functions.
Ms Hallowell added: “We have varying degrees of involvement depending on the individual needs or the organisations with which we work, and are ideally placed to provide all of the specialist services that charity and not for profit entities require.
“GNAAS is one of the larger charities we work with although we also work with well-known North East names including Durham Cathedral and the People’s Kitchen. It’s a pleasure helping them thrive.”