Wales Air Ambulance has officially opened its retail and community hub in the heart of Caernarfon.

The Wales Air Ambulance shop, which is based at the former Argos store in Pool Side, opened its doors on Wednesday 30 November.

The Wales Air Ambulance previously had a shop on High Street, but the new location will provide more room for preloved items as well as more storage space.

The store is the first community retail hub in Wales for the lifesaving charity and the first to be showcasing the new Wales Air Ambulance branding. It not only offers preloved clothing and homeware but also furniture items. A coffee bar, located in the shop, will be opening in the New Year.

Its accessibility will see it become a public donation centre, with storage facilities and vehicle access that will allow it to service other Wales Air Ambulance shops in Bangor and Tywyn.

It has also created new employment opportunities with a new assistant manager role and additional transport operative positions.

Every Wales Air Ambulance shop is a key source of income that helps the Charity to reach its annual target of £8 million to sustain the lifesaving service.

David Williams, the Charity’s Caernarfon Shop Manager, said the new store has already been well received in the community.

He said: “The opening went very well, and the first week was extremely busy. Our customers have been very complimentary of the new shop and a lot of people are looking forward to the new café opening. Furniture has sold particularly well, alongside Christmas items and cards.

“This is such an exciting investment for our charity and the community in and around Caernarfon. The increased space will allow us to receive and sell bigger items, such as furniture, while we can welcome our supporters, volunteers and the wider community who will be able to meet each other in our communal spaces.

“Most importantly, the facility will play a key role in raising much-needed funds to maintain our lifesaving service.” 

The 24/7 emergency service offers advanced critical care and is often described as a ‘Flying Emergency Department’. The on-board consultants and critical care practitioners are highly skilled and carry some of the most pioneering medical equipment in the world. They can deliver blood transfusions, administer anaesthesia, and undertake emergency operations at the scene of the incident, before flying the patient directly to specialist care. 

Caernarfon was chosen as the first location in Wales for development as part of the Charity’s new retail blueprint.

Rob Coles, Head of Retail for the Wales Air Ambulance, said: “In line with the retail blueprint, it was identified that a Hub shop within the Northwest of Wales needed to be established. Caernarfon was a logical location for such an investment, given our historical connection with the town and our established network of volunteers.

“We needed a site that could receive and store donated goods, including larger items such as furniture, and that had vehicle access. The logical conclusion was to seek an alternative site within Caernarfon, which allowed us to create a Hub store. Securing this site was crucial and it will enable us to further develop our community presence in Northwest Wales.

“It is our aim for this site to become a beacon for Wales Air Ambulance in the region and a shared space that can be multi-functional.

“The shop has been very well received. It is great to invest in a town that is so supportive of our cause.”

The new shop will rely on donations of pre-loved items from the public to fill its shelves and is open Monday to Saturday between 9.30am and 4.30pm.