Published: 03 April 2024

Wales Air Ambulance is delighted to have opened a new retail and community hub in Bridgend.

On Wednesday 3 April, the town came together to show their support for the new shop, located at 21 Market Street.

The new store, which is part of the Charity’s retail blueprint, was influenced by feedback from charity employees, supporters and volunteers during the Charity’s strategic review.    

The large site facilitates donation drop offs, warehousing to process donations, storage facilities, a large shop floor and vehicle access that enables it to service other Wales Air Ambulance shops in the region. There is also a training room located within the building.

The new store follows on from the success of the new community hubs in Caernarfon and Mold. 

Sue Barnes, Wales Air Ambulance Chief Executive said: “We are delighted to have opened our Bridgend community hub, following the success in Caernarfon and Mold. The large premises allows us to stock even more items while creating a fresh and pleasing shopping environment for our supporters.    

“Most importantly, the donations and sales from the shop play a vital role in raising much-needed funds to maintain our lifesaving service.”  

During the inaugural opening, staff and volunteers received a special visit from The Mayor of Bridgend County Borough.

This is not the first time that The Mayor has chosen to support the all-Wales Charity. At the beginning of his term, Councillor William Kendall chose the Wales Air Ambulance as his Charity of the Year, so was keen to support the official opening of the new shop.

The Wales Air Ambulance Charity relies on public donations to raise the £11.2 million required every year to keep the helicopters in the air and rapid response vehicles on the road.

The money raised from the Bridgend shop, as a result of the donation and sale of preloved items, will have a lifesaving impact.

Wales Air Ambulance’s Head of Retail, Rob Coles, said: “It has been a poignant day for us all, and hearing positive feedback from our customers is truly heart-warming.

“This is such an exciting development for the Wales Air Ambulance and the community in and around Bridgend. The increased space enables us to receive and sell bigger donated items, such as furniture, and will play a key role in raising much-needed funds to maintain our lifesaving service throughout Wales.”  

The new Wales Air Ambulance retail blueprint aims to strike a balance between generating income for its lifesaving service while enhancing the Charity’s community presence across the country.   

Wales Air Ambulance is consultant-led, taking hospital-standard treatments to the patient and, if required, transferring them directly to the most appropriate hospital for their illness or injury. For the patient, this can mean hours saved when compared to standard care and is proven to greatly improve survival and early recovery.  

It is delivered via a unique Third Sector and Public Sector partnership. The Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS) supplies highly skilled NHS consultants and critical care practitioners who work on board the Charity’s vehicles.

There are many ways you can support the charity’s new venture, from visiting the store, to donating preloved items or by volunteering your time to help out in the shop.

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