THE Ulster Farmers’ Union says it is honoured to have won the Institute of Fundraising NI award for fundraising partnership of the year after raising £200,000 in 2018 for the life-saving charity Air Ambulance Northern Ireland (AANI).
UFU president Ivor Ferguson said: “We are delighted to have won this prestigious and competitive award. It is a testament to the generosity, hard work and dedication of staff, members and industry who helped us raise this fantastic amount during our centenary year. Thank you to everyone who got behind us, we couldn’t have done it without your support.”
As part of its celebrations to mark 100 years of being the voice of farmers in Northern Ireland, the UFU set out to raise £100,000 for AANI.
“It was an ambitious target but true to form, the agriculture industry did not let us down. Not only did we hit our target, we doubled it. Our members, group managers, industry partners, and headquarters staff pulled out all the stops and raised an incredible £186,000. The UFU pledged £14,000 from its reserves, bringing the official centenary year total to £200,000,” said the UFU president.
The UFU’s efforts have raised enough to fund 36 days of service, making a real difference to rural communities. Daily costs average at £5,500 and the AANI charity needs to raise around £2 million pounds a year to remain operational.
“It’s a service we all hope we’ll never need but will be forever grateful it’s there if we do. As UFU president in the centenary year I am very proud of the massive effort people put in to prove that what looked an ambitious target was, in fact, modest,” said Mr Ferguson.
Kerry Anderson, Head of Fundraising at AANI, said: “As a charity in infancy it’s difficult to be able to thank UFU enough for this incredible level of support. That’s why we were delighted that UFU’s tireless fundraising and awareness raising has been recognised by the Institute of Fundraising. We are so grateful to everyone involved in this fantastic effort. The farming community have embraced the value of the service which is here 365 days of the year for them and the whole community.”
AANI is the local charity that provides the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) for Northern Ireland, together with its partners at the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS). The service brings urgent medical assistance to anywhere in the Province, operating seven days a week for 12 hours per day. It can get to anywhere in Northern Ireland in approximately 25 minutes.