Construction for Essex & Herts Air Ambulance's (EHAAT) new airbase has begun.
The purpose-built facility at North Weald Airfield will replace the current leased EHAAT base at North Weald.
Work got underway yesterday (11/2/20), following a ceremony guided by EHAAT CEO Jane Gurney.
It was attended by VIP guests, charity trustees, volunteers, a former airlifted patient and EHAAT's critical care team.
Speaking at the event, Jane Gurney said:
“This is such an important milestone in the charity’s history, building our own specially-designed airbase will secure the future of our North Weald operations for decades to come.
"We are grateful to have the opportunity to do this, thanks to our amazing fundraisers who have supported the charity for over 20 years.
"Building the facility ourselves will result in significant cost savings compared to leasing a new building built to the same specification.”
The base will house one of EHAAT's two helicopters and two of their rapid response vehicles, as well as providing areas for training, mentoring, patient liaison and fundraising.
A space will also be available for cross-training with other emergency services.
(Blueprints for how the airbase is expected to look. Picture credits: EHAAT)
Mark Hart, Joint MD for Barnes Construction (who are constructing the new facility) said:
“We’re looking forward to delivering this important modern facility for Essex & Herts Air Ambulance.
"Our recent track record and experience in delivering projects within the charity sector means that we can demonstrate our commitment to both the construction, as well as our staff involvement in the various fundraising events that may be taking place in the months ahead.”
The air ambulance charity have also launched their 'Buy a Brick' fundraising initiative to encourage supporters to get involved with the new airbase.
The 4,000 bricks from the fundraiser will then be used in the helicopter viewing area in the visitor centre.
Work is also underway to extend and improve facilities at EHAAT's other airbase at Earls Colne to future-proof it.