The shop, located on Churchill Way, is the Charity’s largest and carries the branding of its specialist neonatal and paediatric division – the Children’s Wales Air Ambulance. Every WAA shop is a key source of income that helps the Charity to reach its annual target of £6.5 million to sustain the lifesaving service. The 5,000 sq ft premises was acquired on behalf of Wales Air Ambulance by Cooke & Arkwright
Donna Rogers, WAA Retail Area Manager, said: “This is a really exciting time for us and we are looking forward to welcoming new and existing customers to our new shop in the centre of the capital. The project has been a culmination of months of planning and hard work by staff and volunteers alike.”
The new shop will rely on donations of pre-loved items from the public to fill the shelves. WAA shops stock items such as furniture, toys and games, clothes, music and ornaments.
Donna added: “We would encourage anyone who has pre-loved items looking for a home to consider donating them to us. Every item will translate into funds for our lifesaving work. We also offer a free collection service where we will pick up donated items.”
According to figures released last month, 2018 was the busiest ever year for the Wales Air Ambulance Charity and its medics, who received 2828 calls. This is 274 more than 2017 and 450 more than 2016. 69% of the calls attended were by air and 31% by road in one of the services’ Rapid Response Vehicles. 50% of the incidents were medical-related while the remaining 50% were linked to trauma.
Further analysis revealed that 66% of patients were male and 34% female, while 13% of all patients treated were 17 years old or under.
WAA runs four aircraft based in Welshpool, Caernarfon, Dafen (Llanelli) and Cardiff. It is now the UK’s largest air ambulance operation that can be anywhere in Wales within twenty minutes.
The Charity’s new shop will take the name of its Cardiff-based Children’s Wales Air Ambulance. Operating from Cardiff Heliport, it provides the very best care and transport for babies and children in need. The crew frequently transfer poorly children to specialist centres around the UK, including the Children’s Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, Great Ormond Street in London and Alder Hey in Liverpool. The Children’s Wales Air Ambulance is home to the UK’s only dedicated Helicopter Transfer Practitioners. They are experts in keeping patients safe and comfortable during flight transfers.
Angela Hughes, WAA Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are really pleased to be able to have a presence in the Welsh capital. The opening of the new store coincides with our recent acquisition of the lease for Cardiff Heliport, providing a permanent home for the Children’s Wales Air Ambulance. Our investment in Cardiff shows that we are committed to having a presence in all corners of the country and we look forward to an exciting future in this vibrant city.”
In addition to filling the shelves with stock, Wales Air Ambulance is also on the lookout for new volunteers to help with the running of the shop. The Charity relies heavily on a 600-strong team of dedicated volunteers across Wales who are the lifeblood of day-to-day fundraising.
Ben Davies, Associate with Cooke & Arkwright’s Retail and Leisure agency, said: “Wales Air Ambulance had been seeking a landmark site in Cardiff city centre to operate their children’s charity store, large enough to also accommodate staff training rooms and offices. The location is a busy thoroughfare with good exposure, benefitting from nearby parking to allow drop-off donations. We have been pleased to assist the Charity over a number of years in the acquisition of premises including in Swansea, Bridgend and Pontypridd.”
For more information about volunteering, or the Wales Air Ambulance in general, please visit www.walesairambulance.com or call 0300 0152 999.