Our strategic plan underpins the direction of our organisation. It helps us work together to hit the targets that will enable us to achieve the very best outcomes for our future patients.

Importantly, the plan is very much a ‘live’ document as we must be responsive to changes in our operating environment that we cannot predict. Here we outline some of the key points.


Patients first

Our Mission is the relief of sickness and injury in Devon and surrounding areas, which we do by providing exemplary patient care. Our work is patient-led and our decisions based on evidence, drawing on our 25 years’ experience and ongoing learning and development. The starting point for our strategic plan is therefore patient services, from which everything else follows.


We don’t rely on government funding, which means we can be agile in our decision making whilst also thinking about the long-term needs of our patients here in Devon. Because we are independent, the fantastic support we get from local people is ploughed into doing what is best for local people, both now and in the future. Our support has given us the opportunity to save money through self-insurance and by owning and operating our own aircraft.

At the heart of the community

It is local communities all across Devon that make our work possible. Devon’s air ambulances are owned by and for Devon people and we aim to listen to and be accountable to them, for example by working with local communities to support them in developing their community landing sites. We also collaborate with regional and national partners who lobby Government on our behalf, for example, in applying for grants from the LIBOR fund, which means we are able to support communities in getting night-flight ready.  

Maintaining the right culture

Our aim is to nurture a safe and just culture of transparency, fairness, inclusivity and ethical awareness. We ensure our supporters are protected by looking after their data and fostering a culture of mutual respect.

Sustaining excellence

Robust governance, professional conduct, investment in people and comprehensive support of our volunteers are at the core of our vision of providing an outstanding Helicopter Emergency Medical Service that is available to all, 24 hours a day.


Developing patient services

Our service to patients is the starting point for all our plans. Everything we do follows on from how we want to expand and improve patient care.

24-hour flying

Since November 2016 we’ve been flying until midnight. Our experience to date is that we are busier than we anticipated after dark. We want to increase availability throughout the night by 2021.

Skills and care

Our patient services are informed by evidence-based decisions. We plan to continue to develop the skills of the team through a range of clinical training opportunities. This may mean developing specialist posts, investing in new equipment and supporting the education of the clinical aircrew to extend their skills, knowledge and qualifications.

Aviation and safety

Our two aircraft play a vital role not just in getting patients to the right hospital for their needs swiftly, but also in taking a highly-trained clinical team to the patient to begin treatment as soon as possible. They too must be kept up to date along with a range of equipment, from stretchers to weather stations. 

Replacement of G-DVAA

In 2020, G-DVAA will be replaced by a new aircraft providing opportunities for further improvement to the capabilities of the service. Because we are able to plan many years ahead, this will be paid for from reserves that we have set aside each year for replacement aircraft to make sure we always have the best fleet to meet the demands on the service.

Safety and management

Operational plans and policy must also be continually reviewed to ensure we maintain our excellent record as an aircraft operator. Good enough is not good enough when it comes to aviation; we want to be the best! Plans include training developments, additional weather stations and ongoing work with local communities developing community landing sites. 


Our aim by 2021 is to grow our income steadily by 36%. Based on past performance, this is realistic growth that will enable us to meet our targets for sustainable expansion of patient services and support our rolling programme of aircraft replacement and maintenance without resorting to high-pressure fundraising tactics that do not fit with our values.

Community fundraising

Our fundraising strategy is very simple. We believe in community fundraising and at the heart of this is our Supporters Promise. We will continue to do all we can to support the people and businesses who support our service.

We are placing an emphasis on the steady growth of the Lottery, community fundraising and donations, regular giving and in memoriam, legacies, as well as business fundraising in the years ahead.

We want to continue to support our core events such as the Motorcycle Ride-out and Dragon Boat Festival to attract contributions from these events from up to £180k. We’re also keen to increase participants in the Commando Challenge from 1,000 to 2,000.

Enhancing our digital marketing strategy will help to support our income generation through raising our digital visibility as well as awareness of our retail and recycling activity, which we will support through a steady increase in the number of local Devon Air Ambulance charity shops.

Getting the right support in place

It’s essential that all our activity points us towards a life beyond each 5-year plan lifecycle. We achieve sustainability by maintaining our efficiency levels while supporting our growth.

It is the infrastructure of our systems, tools and working environments, coupled with the skills and experience of our team who are united in our vision, mission and values, that have helped enable the objectives in our last strategic plan to be met.

We also plan to recruit for several roles and bring more volunteers on board to help make our vision possible. This combination of excellent personnel and robust infrastructure will help us to work towards our objectives over the next 5 years.

Looking further ahead

We’re keen to be transparent with our supporters about how we work to deliver our life-saving service, so you can read the whole strategic plan for 2017 to 2021 in detail here. Do contact us if you have any questions or if you would like to help us to achieve our aims by becoming a Devon Air Ambulance supporter.