Further Education Colleges pedal to £5,550 for Air Ambulance NI

Staff from Northern Ireland’s six Further Education Colleges have raised £5,550 for Air Ambulance NI after participating in a charity cycle on Friday.

The charity cycle entitled ‘Further Education 400’ saw teams’ cycle 400 miles passing through 25 Further Education college campuses.

Each of the six colleges put forward a team of cyclists, both experienced and first timers, who cycled around their respective campuses to pass a baton to the next College.

On Friday, Economy Minister Gordon Lyons MLA cheered on cyclists at Northern Regional College’s Newtownabbey Campus where Belfast Metropolitan College passed on the baton.

The teams’ fundraised to support a vital regional service at a time when the health service faces enormous pressures in the wake of the recent pandemic.

The event highlighted the collaboration and collegiality between the six colleges in their work to make a positive impact to their local communities.

Minister for the Economy, Gordon Lyons MLA said:  “I was delighted to visit Northern Regional College’s Newtownabbey campus to see firsthand the fundraising efforts by college staff. Our local FE colleges are a force for good in so many ways, acting as skills engines to help people better themselves and improve their life chances, through high quality training and qualifications that can lead directly to employment, and of course, college staff are central to this. To see them give their time and efforts to this cause is therefore no surprise at all and I commend everyone involved for helping raise funds for Air Ambulance NI.”

Mel Higgins, Chief Executive and Principal of Northern Regional College said: “The response from our staff and students to our charity cycle for Air Ambulance NI has been fantastic. Our ‘Further Education 400’ was really well attended and a wonderful experience for everyone involved.”

“All six of our colleges were thrilled to be raising money for a truly worthy cause, with Air Ambulance NI providing a vital regional service, and we are elated that £5,550 has been raised by our cycle which will go some way to keep the service operational.”

“I would like to thank all of our staff who trained and participated in ‘Further Education 400’. They have trained for months to take on the cycling challenge on Friday, and it is a real feat that has been accomplished both physically and charitably by the college teams.”

Damien McAnespie, Fundraising Manager at Air Ambulance NI said:  “We were delighted to have teamed up with Northern Ireland’s Further Education sector for their ‘Further Education 400’ charity cycle through all of their campuses.”

“Air Ambulance NI works in partnership with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, to deliver the helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS) for the region. The HEMS team attend patients who are seriously ill or injured, bringing emergency pre-hospital care direct to the casualty with the aim of saving lives, brains, and limbs. Each year the charity aspires to raise £2 million to maintain and sustain this service so public donations are crucial.”

“The £5,550 raised through this event will no doubt make a significant contribution to meeting that goal and ultimately keeping Air Ambulance NI flying. A huge thank you to everyone from the Further Education Colleges for their support, it is greatly appreciated.”

Share This: