Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust awarded funding for new helicopter home

Friday, 18 March, 2011

Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust has been awarded almost £1 million of ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) Convergence investment to build a new base for the charity and its helicopter at Newquay Cornwall Airport.

The investment amounts to £949,760 from ERDF Convergence with further costs for the capital project to be matched by reserved charitable funds and additional fundraising.

The development includes a 492 square metre hangar for the Cornwall Air Ambulance helicopter and 335 square metres of high quality office space, providing accommodation for both operating crews and the fundraising team.

Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Convergence Partnership Office for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said, "This ERDF Convergence investment is a great example of the growing critical mass of specialist air related businesses - both fixed wing and rotary - at Newquay Cornwall Airport. It is becoming increasingly clear that the economic impact of the airport reaches well beyond its role as a transport hub."

Chief executive of CAAT Paula Martin said: "Strategically, this charity is growing quickly, mainly because we need to meet the costs of operating a busy air ambulance helicopter.

"Part of our forward planning is to secure an operations facility, a proper "home for the helicopter" and ensure we can manage most of the key costs in the future.

"We are very pleased indeed to have secured this significant investment to help pay for something which is truly for the people of Cornwall in the future. We are also very conscious that we utilise charitable funds prudently in providing all aspects of Cornwall's air ambulance service."

Cornwall Council awarded planning permission for the new home for the helicopter in November last year.

The building will be situated on the south side of the main runway at Newquay Cornwall Airport and it is hoped work will be completed later this year, with plans for the air ambulance to be operating from the new hangar before Christmas.

With the charity's headquarters and office staff currently based at Roche just off the A30, the new accommodation will bring the charity and operations team together on the map for the first time.

Offices will be constructed to ensure low running costs in the future, built to BREEAM Excellent standards.

John Burton, Communities Infrastructure Manager at the South West Regional Development Agency, said the new base would set a standard for future development outlined in the Newquay Cornwall Airport masterplan.

He said: "This new flexible workspace, with iconic design and strong environmental performance built in, is adding to the burgeoning air based industry that is being built up at Newquay Cornwall Airport. This is part of the ERDF Convergence programme's suite of investments in workspace for a modern economy."

Miles Carden, Newquay Cornwall Airport Infrastructure and Business Development Programme Manager for Cornwall Development Company said: "Newquay Cornwall Airport wants to develop a major aviation related business cluster, offering the opportunity for delivering significant numbers of quality, high value and highly skilled jobs.

"Attracting organisations like CAAT is vital for the realisation of this ambition and this investment is therefore a critical initial step for the airport. The CAAT are leaders in civilian aviation paramedic work and we hope that their presence will be a catalyst to further growth in this sector."

Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust appointed independent Wagg Consultants Limited to lead the project definition phase and the funding bid application.

Steve Murdoch, director of Wagg Consultants, said: "As Project Manager for the new operations facility we have been heavily involved in developing the Business Case and Funding Application. We are delighted with the decision to approve the grant funding and are looking forward to the next phase of this exciting project."

Newquay Cornwall Airport's Managing Director Al Titterington said: 'The new facility is another exciting development here at Newquay Cornwall Airport and will further strengthen the relationship between the Air Ambulance Trust and the Airport.'

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