Children’s charity flying high with new store

A leading children’s charity is flying high after securing a unique retail premises in Rugeley town centre, which will help to raise vital funds and create local job opportunities.

The Children’s Air Ambulance charity, which will launch a national bespoke helicopter transfer service for seriously ill children by the end of this year, has signed a six-year lease for units 1 and 2, Brewery Street, in Rugeley. The retail units are owned by Worcestershire property specialists Barberry Developments.

Barberry director Alex Watson said: “The charity shop is in a fantastic location and surrounded by popular high street stores that will encourage footfall. The units provide the Charity with a unique opportunity to sell both furniture and clothes under one roof, therefore increasing their chances of raising substantial funds.”

Established in 2008, The Children’s Air Ambulance (TCAA) was taken over by The Air Ambulance Service Trading Ltd (TAAS) in December 2011. Income from the new store will go towards day-to-day operational costs as well as maintaining the helicopter, which will be based at Coventry airport.

Emma Vithlani, director of retail for TAAS, said: “The Children’s Air Ambulance is a nationwide charity, so are looking to open shops all over the country. Receiving no National Lottery or Government funding, we rely solely on public donations and income from our retail shops to help fund our lifesaving service.

“This particular premises in Rugeley was perfect for us as it’s a joint unit, so we can have dedicated areas for furniture and clothes. This will be the second shop for The Children’s Air Ambulance but will be the 19th in our network of shops. The shop will create three new jobs in the local area and we hope to recruit around 30 volunteers.”

The Brewery Street premises – a former supermarket – is located in Rugeley town centre with major retailers nearby, including Boots, Morrisons, Wilkos, Costa, Superdrug, and W H Smith. Accommodation comprises a ground floor (5,060 sq ft) and first floor (372 sq ft) with male and female toilet facilities.

The letting was agreed by joint agents Andrew Thompson & Co Ltd and Johnson Fellows.

TCAA will transfer critically ill children and babies along with their specialist care teams to paediatric care units across England and Wales.