THE race is on to raise money as the RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service battles to keep the vital service in the air amidst a rising shortfall in funding.
Relationships manager Graham Sheppard, tasked with boosting corporate ties between the service and the communities it assists, said there were a number of strategies underway to try and boost the coffers of the rescue chopper service, with Gladstone to see more fundraising events in the near future.
The main centres serviced by the service are Rockhampton, Gladstone, Blackwater, Emerald and Biloela, with Gladstone tasks making up about 23% of all call-outs so far this year.
A Rescue 300 sponsorship drive is now underway, to try and entice businesses to get on board as a named sponsor of the helicopter.
There's also an initiative asking local workers to donate a couple of dollars from their pay cheques to the service.
Sheppard was confident the funds would start to pour in.
"The payroll (donation initiative) is huge you know. If we could get even $2 to $5 off each person each week and we could get around 10,000 people each year well that'd give us a guaranteed amount," he said.
"We're currently sitting at just under 4000 people which is great."
With the payroll campaign set to come in at just under $300,000 for this financial year, the service is desperate for more public support.
As well as the drive for smaller, individual donations, corporate sponsorships are also being targeted, with the Rescue 300 club to host its inaugural gala fundraising dinner on August 22.
"We're hoping to have 100 members of the Rescue 300 club by then," Mr Sheppard said.
"We've got just over 50 members at present, which is great as we only started back in March."
Mr Sheppard estimated running costs of the service would be about $6.5 million next year, with government funding currently sitting at $2.4 million, meaning it was vital locals supported the important service.
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