We estimate that Devon Air Ambulance volunteer hours saved the charity over £1M in 2023, which is equal to the cost of 242 missions. Our volunteers are lifesavers, and we are incredibly grateful to them for their generous gift of time and skill in support of our service.

Volunteering has a great many benefits to volunteers too, not least in developing valuable experience and meeting new people. Some volunteers have even discovered a route to employment through volunteering with Devon Air Ambulance. Aimee Sandwell and Kylie Baird are two volunteers who successfully secured new jobs thanks to their experience volunteering with us.

Kyle Baird: now working in retail

Kyle began volunteering at our Barnstaple charity shop in summer 2023 with the aim of developing his confidence and skill so he could work towards paid employment.  

Kyle was pleased that shop manager, Kevin, who strongly believes in giving time to his volunteers, encouraged Kyle and his fellow volunteers to grow in confidence and learn transferable skills. Here, Kyle trained in Gift Aid, stock management, cash handling and till procedures, and customer service skills. Kyle said, 

It has been a helpful experience, and I gained my confidence with customer service, working on a till and dealing with stock.

Kyle’s confidence in a workplace environment grew through is volunteering experience with DAA and he attributes this to moving onto the next stage of his career path 

In early 2024, just six  months after joining DAA, Kyle secured a role working three days a week at Pay It Forward, a local second-hand shop also in Barnstaple. Kyle told us, 

I’m a still a loyal volunteer for DAA and will continue to be because the team is great and I want to continue supporting the charity.’ 

Due to his workplace's proximity to the shop, Kyle regularly visits the store before or after a shift to say hello to the friends he made while volunteering. 

Aimee Sandwell: Now working in the NHS

In Autumn 2018, Aimee began volunteering at her local Devon Air Ambulance shop in Barnstaple with the ambition of gaining some work experience alongside her studies at Petroc College where she was studying IT. Aimee said, 

Working at the Barnstaple shop helped me to develop my communication skills as I have dyslexia and a mild speech impediment. The team here have always been really supportive of me and helped me to develop these key skills.

Aimee went on to further study at Petroc as part of Project Search, which aims to help people with learning needs and autism to move into employment.  

With this course and the experience gained working alongside her team in Barnstaple, in 2022 Aimee became employed full-time on a fixed-term contract working in Medical Records at Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. Aimee continued to volunteer for DAA on Saturdays and even recommended the opportunity to her grandmother who now also volunteers at the shop for two or three days a week. Aimee says, 

Volunteering for Devon Air Ambulance has given me good skills and confidence; I was very shy at the start and now I am working full-time for the NHS.

The fixed-term contract ended in March 2023, and Aimee returned to 3-4 days a week volunteering until September 2023 when she returned to the hospital with a permanent full-time contract with the finance department.  

Congratulations on all your achievements, Kyle and Aimee - we wish you the best of luck in the future! 

Interested in volunteering? Find out more about the benefits and the roles available. Why volunteer?