Work has started on the construction of a new headquarters, training centre and air base for the country’s longest-serving air ambulance charity.
Lindum Group is now on site at Alconbury Weald where it is building new offices, a dedicated training centre, rest facilities for crew and clinicians and new community and patient hub for the Cambridgeshire charity, Magpas.
The £5.5million scheme also includes construction of a new hanger area and a helipad for the life-saving charity, which flies hospital-level care to patients at the scene of medical emergencies.
Representatives from Magpas and Lindum, based in Newark Road, Peterborough, met on site to mark the start of construction work.
Charity CEO Daryl Brown MBE said the new development will allow Magpas to co-locate its operations and support staff, reducing overheads and improving its environmental impact.
“We’re so excited to start to see this project, which has been years in the making, come into fruition,” he said. “The first spade in the ground marks an important milestone in our 50 years of saving lives and will ensure we are able to continue doing so for many more.”
Magpas was established in 1971 and serves the communities of Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and across the East of England. It is dispatched by both the East of England and the East Midlands Ambulance Service Trusts – caring for a population of over 10 million.
It is not a state-funded service and relies on public donations to continue saving lives. It operates 24/7 and, on average, answers four calls for help a day treating around 900 patients in life-threatening emergencies every year.
The charity is moving home because its current base at RAF Wyton has been sold for development.
Managing Director of Lindum Peterborough, Darren King, said: “I am delighted that we are now underway with this project and that the wheels are now in motion. This charity is so important to the local area and the fact that we can help to continue the great work that they do is very special.
“It is times like this when you truly remember how important these guys are. There was a huge rise in 999 calls during the recent heatwave and so it is very important we help Magpas and provide them with a home for them to continue to save lives.”
The charity expects to be able to move into its new home next summer.
Magpas Air Ambulance is a charity and needs to raise £6 million a year to continue its 24/7 operations. If you’d like to support the charity or find out more, visit: magpas.org.uk.