Great Western Air Ambulance Charity takes up tenancy in new air base

Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) have taken up tenancy of a new air base in Almondsbury. The charity will share the facility with the National Police Air Service (NPAS), and currently have a ten year tenancy agreement. Their helicopter took off from the new base for the first time at the end of October, taking the medical team to a critical incident.

The move is a huge milestone for the charity, who have been operating from a hangar on Filton airfield which was one of the oldest in the country.

In a move which would ensure stability for the life-saving charity, the landlords of the new base have offered GWAAC the opportunity to purchase the facility at a significantly reduced price.

GWAAC Chief Executive Anna Perry explains: “We’re thrilled to have moved into the new air base at Almondsbury, however with our current tenancy agreement we could be asked to leave again after ten years. This could be extremely disruptive to our service. Owning our air base will ensure we can continue to carry out our life-saving work well into the future. It’s unlikely we will have the opportunity to buy a facility like this again.”

Russ Woolford, Assistant Operations Director for the National Police Air Service (NPAS) said: “We are delighted that NPAS Almondsbury is now operational. The state-of-the-art air base, including a 520m lit Final Approach and Take Off (FATO), is a great addition to our national network of bases. NPAS Almondsbury is operational 24/7/365 and our crews will regularly support police colleagues on the ground to find missing people and search for suspects. Air support is a vital tool available to police forces and flying at average speeds of 138mph crews will also help bring many other ‘crimes in action’ to an end, to help keep communities safe. NPAS Almondsbury replaces the existing NPAS Filton site which is now under redevelopment for housing.”

Earlier this year, GWAAC launched an urgent appeal to help them raise the additional £1.25 million needed to fund the purchase. They are half way towards their target, but still have a long way to go. 

As a charity they rely on generous donations from members of the public to stay operational.

Excitingly, if they can raise another £315,000 then a generous local organisation has pledged to double this money! 

GWAAC Lead Critical Care Doctor Ed Valentine continues: “The whole crew are really pleased to have moved into our new hangar, which is warm, dry, and has all the facilities we need to train for and deliver our service. We operate at the forefront of pre-hospital emergency medicine, and are here for every single person across the region. Owning this base would mean that we can continue to expand and continue our work long into the future. We’re extremely grateful to everyone who has donated so far, and would urge anyone who is able to contribute to the Buy Our Base appeal to do so.”

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