In July, following the launch of the Customer Charter, RBS and NatWest announced details of a new Community Fund to support local charities and projects, and invited customers and local people to decide who should benefit from this new community initiative.
A panel comprising representatives from the local community reviewed the original applications and short-listed the three charities to benefit from the fund in each area and when voters were asked to pick their favourite it was Sussex Air Ambulance that scooped the top prize of £3,000 - this was funded from the Horsham Cluster including branches in Horsham and Arundel. Nationally, over 380 individual funds were created and over 1,100 local organisations will receive a donation.
The life-saving charity provides a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) which responds to serious trauma and other emergencies with a specialist doctor and paramedic, available to everyone living, working and travelling through the county. The highly-skilled crew can carry out advanced medical procedures at the scene of incidents before flying the patient to the most appropriate hospital according to their needs - "saving time, saving life".
John Houlton, Senior Bank Manager, NatWest in Horsham and Arundel, said: "We've had an overwhelming response to the Community Fund and it's clear that people in Sussex are passionate about the Sussex Air Ambulance charity and we're delighted to be able to make this donation and support the work that they do.
"We have had so many worthy causes nominated which is why it was important to give the opportunity to our local community to decide who should benefit."
Sussex Air Ambulance needs £1.7m-a-year to keep the helicopter flying and relies almost entirely on public donations. Each flying mission costs between £1,500 and £2,000 so NatWest's donation has helped to potentially save two lives.
West Sussex County Fundraiser Cheryl Johnson said: "We are thrilled to be awarded £3,000 and to gain the recognition for all our efforts locally.
"The money will go towards running costs to allow us to continue to provide this lifesaving service to the people of Sussex. Our thanks go to the public in Horsham and Arundel for voting for our worthy cause."
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RBS Communications Manager