WILTSHIRE Air Ambulance Charitable Trust is contacting some of Wiltshire’s biggest companies offering the opportunity to sponsor its new helicopter.

The charity will have its own helicopter from December this year when its 23-year partnership with Wiltshire Police for the joint helicopter/air ambulance comes to an end.

This week the charity is sending out information packs to companies it thinks might be interested in coming on board as a corporate sponsor.

The pack says: “Such sponsorship would provide a unique and highly visible sponsorship opportunity, positioning the sponsor at the heart of the community; not just across the county of Wiltshire, but also across the wider south west region.”

It goes on to offer exclusive branding on the new Wiltshire Air Ambulance with the additional possibility of the sponsor’s colour scheme being incorporated on the helicopter, fly-ins by the helicopter to three company events per year and invitations to exclusive events and networking opportunities.

The packs are being sent to about 40 companies in Wiltshire which have a turnover of more than £5 million or employ more than 250 staff, together with companies with whom the charity already has good relationships.

When it goes it alone the charity will have to raise £2.5 million a year compared with the £700,000 it contributes to the shared helicopter with Wiltshire Police.

The charity already has funding in its reserves to cover the cost of the first year and says its mailshot seeking a corporate sponsor is a way of exploring if there is interest from big businesses to boost income.

Other air ambulances have been funded by the Automobile Association, the Daily Express and Virgin.

David Philpott, Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s chief executive, said: “As a charity that does not receive any contribution from the NHS or the National Lottery towards the costs of operating our helicopter, we have a duty to our stakeholders and beneficiaries to explore every possible avenue of funding.

“It is not just about finding a sponsor, it is about finding the right sponsor. There has to be a synergy and an alignment of vision and values between the Wiltshire Air Ambulance and any funding partner.

“Ultimately it will be for the board of trustees of Wiltshire Air Ambulance to decide on which company or corporation – if any – meets that criteria.”