David Welch, CEO of Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex (KSS), has won the Charity Times Charity Leader of the Year Award 2021 – a prestigious national award, which celebrates excellence among charities and not for profit organisations from across the UK and honours the outstanding professionals in charity management.
With David at the helm, KSS has delivered outstanding results as a world-leading air ambulance charity at the forefront of Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS).
Since joining the life-saving charity in 2019, David has been an inspiring leader to a highly skilled, diverse, multi-disciplinary team of 135 staff including doctors, paramedics, dispatchers, pilots, fundraisers, marketers and support staff, and 170 volunteers.
Over the last year, KSS overcame significant challenges under David’s leadership and was able to operate 24/7 throughout the pandemic, without dropping a single shift. In addition, and working in partnership with South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb), David spearheaded the extension of KSS’s service capabilities to support the NHS by transferring over 100 critically ill COVID patients between ICUs.
Each year KSS must raise over £15m to operate its life-saving service. 88% of this is raised through public donations and fundraising. The charity faced a deficit of £2.9m in March 2020 and David led the team to a surplus by early 2021, with the charity emerging from the pandemic in a robust financial position, ensuring it can continue to save many more lives.
David Welch, CEO, KSS, said, “I am honoured and immensely proud to have won this award, which reflects the outstanding achievements of KSS over the last year. This would not have been possible without the commitment and dedication of the whole of Team KSS and the people in our regions who have so generously fundraised or donated to us. I am incredibly grateful to them all. I also wanted to extend my sincere thanks to Charity Times for this fantastic accolade.”
David Welch is also on the Board of Trustees for Air Ambulances UK (AAUK). He is a strong advocate of collaboration and shared learning in order to push boundaries in the sector.
On the same evening as the Charity Times winners were announced, KSS was also crowned winner of the Kent Charity Award: Large Charity and was selected by the judges of the Kent Charity Awards as Kent Charity of the Year 2021. These awards showcase the hard work and perseverance that charities and their staff undertake to make the lives of others better.