Annual report & accounts
Our first-ever impact report reflects on our first year flying with Lia. We flew more children than ever before, responded to 100% of NHS referrals, developed our service overseas, expanded our fixed-wing training for medical staff and provided innovative transport solutions both in the UK and overseas.
This year has been the most significant in our charity’s history. It has been a transitional year that has laid the foundations for our charity’s future. Our service grew significantly, not just in numbers, but in the types of air transfer we do. This year we expanded our service overseas and developed our holistic family-centred care offering. One of the most significant parts of our year was in September 2022 when our trustees, Melissa and Patrick Schoennagel, lost their daughter, Lia, aged only five years. Her prematurely ended life has been a catalyst for change at our small charity. We rebranded from ‘Lucy Air Ambulance for Children’ to ‘Lia’s Wings’ and set ambitious intentions for the next three years.
This year we celebrated an important milestone for our charity - a decade since our first air transfer. Our service has never been more in demand, growing year on year by 29%. The cost of our service increased dramatically. We invested in key medical equipment for our air transfers and hosted our first-ever fixed-wing training day for medical staff.
These last 12 months have been both challenging, yet defining for our charity. We prioritised keeping our service operational in order to support the NHS and to be there for the children and families who still needed our help throughout the pandemic. This financial year was extremely difficult for fundraising due to the impact of COVID-19. Despite this, we are proud that we were able to respond to 100% of all referrals from the NHS and keep our service operational for all those who depended on us.
We have enjoyed another strong year, achieving an 18% year-on-year increase in the number of transfers we have funded. This means we have helped more families this year than ever before. We continue to develop our relationship with the NHS transport teams, and attended the NHS National Neonatal Transport Conference 2019, helping to ensure we are part of the dialogue around flight provision for children within the UK. For the first time, our charity implemented pre-approved funding for flights within the NHS. This has meant that flights can be put in the air urgently at the NHS’ request, allowing NHS teams to respond more quickly to time-critical scenarios requiring an air transfer.
Our charity experienced growth of 21% in services provided, funding more flights and helping more families than ever before. This year also saw Lia's Wings fund flights for organ transplants, and end-of-life care for the first time. Our charity has undergone a significant streamlining of our cost base and our processes to allow us to focus maximum resources on funding flights. This allows us to deliver against our vision to provide safe, long-distance air transfers that are available for any child needing them, regardless of distance and cost.