Wales Air Ambulance expansion to support vital service

Helimed service needs to raise £6.5m to operate

3 November 2016

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Wales Air Ambulance has relocated to new premises of almost 3,000 sq ft at 1-9 College Street in Swansea. The charity was looking for a unit which would provide a much larger shop front with additional storage space to facilitate its drive to expand across South and West Wales. As a Charitable Trust, Wales Air Ambulance (WAA) relies entirely on donations to keep its fleet of four ‘helimeds’ in the air, the most recent of which was launched in Cardiff. The expansion will help to raise the £6.5m it needs every year to operate its vital service.

Ben Davies, Associate with Cooke & Arkwright's Retail & Leisure agency comments, “Wales Air Ambulance instructed us to identify larger premises close to their existing outlet in Princess Way and ideally, with additional storage space to satisfy their requirement. The property on College Street is well positioned and has excellent access to the rear for deliveries into what is a good sized storage area. We are also now exploring new locations in West Wales to facilitate WAA’s expansion plans, and are pleased to have assisted the charity in the acquisition of a number of premises, including in, Bridgend, Port Talbot and Pontypridd over recent years.”

Andrew Lawton, Head of Retail and Trading at Wales Air Ambulance said, “Our new shop at College Street is another shining success from our retail team. The additional storage space and shop size offers our customers a wider range of products and much improved availability. This, ultimately, helps us serve Wales with our four aircraft and save lives.”

The geography of Wales, with many remote and isolated areas far from accident and emergency facilities, means that road ambulances often have to negotiate miles of winding country lanes to reach the scene of an accident or critically ill person. WAA can get its medical crews and helicopter to an accident across the country within 20 minutes and transport them to the most appropriate hospital for their injuries.

WAA currently has 17 shops across the whole of Wales, and three ‘helimed’ crews based in Caernarfon in North Wales, Welshpool in Mid Wales and Llanelli in South Wales. Each crew has one pilot and two advanced clinicians responding to emergency call outs. In 2016 the charity launched a fourth aircraft, based in Cardiff, dedicated to children’s air ambulance operation, airlifting some of Wales’ youngest patients to specialist units across the UK, such as Great Ormond Street and Alder Hey.