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Our newest shop opened with pomp and ceremony on 14 March with the Town Crier announcing it to passers-by in the centre of Gloucester.
Volunteers, former patients, local influencers, and representatives from the NHS, EG Carter, Gloucester BID and Girlguiding Gloucestershire, attended a celebratory breakfast from 08:00-09:00.
After much coffee-glugging (it was early!) speeches followed from Great Western Air Ambulance Charity’s (GWAAC) CEO Anna Perry, Air Operations Officer and Specialist Paramedic Pete Reeve and former patient Chris Witham.
Anna thanked everyone for their hard work. She said, “This is such an amazing day for Great Western Air Ambulance Charity. We’re here in the centre of Gloucester and we’re opening our fifth shop, our second one in Gloucester. It’s wonderful to be here in the heart of the community that our charity serves.
I’d like to say thank you to all of the volunteers and all of the team members and all of the members of the community who have helped us to open our second shop in Gloucester today.
This is a fantastic achievement and I just hope that those people who helped us get here will also come in and see what they helped us create – a buzzing community hub for Gloucester. GWAAC loves to be at the centre of the community and that’s why we open shops like this, so people can come in and shop and chat and find out about the charity and just have a nice time with our team.“
How our shops help patients
Specialist Paramedic Pete told the guests that when he gets out a piece of equipment to use on a patient, he often wonders who donated or fundraised for that piece of kit – was it from a cake sale, or through shop sales and donations? He said, “Our shops are a really important part of our charity. Not only do they help generate the income that keeps us flying and administering lifesaving care to people but they also help people to know who we are, and it really helps the charity become part of the wider community. The medical education that we provide, the work of our Heartstarters volunteers… it’s all part of who we are and what we do in helping our local community and trying to save lives together.”
Former patient Chris spoke about why he needed GWAAC and how important the charity is for the communities we serve. He then cut the ribbon to officially open the store, accompanied by a lot of noise from the wonderful Town Crier.
Happy shoppers on the first day
Within seconds the first shopper was in, snapping up a football shirt he’d seen hanging in the store and that he didn’t want to miss out on. A benefit of the shop having a corner position is that it has lots of windows making it easy for potential customers to see the goods inside.
By the end of the day, the new shop had taken a fantastic £1,236 — an excellent achievement for all involved. It’s an amount that could purchase 274 umbilical catheters for small babies or half a portable ultrasound machine.
GWAAC in the Gloucester community
Situated in the heart of Gloucester and with GWAAC’s boutique shop just a short walk away on Southgate Street, the two shops offer local shoppers a wide range of second-hand goods to suit all tastes, occasions and budgets. And whichever shop you visit, you’ll be met with a warm welcome, friendly staff and lots of information about GWAAC.
Emily, from Gloucester BID, said, “It’s fantastic to have the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity opening their second shop here in Gloucester city centre. Not only does it fill an empty premises, but it also shows growth and provides jobs. Plus, it offers volunteering opportunities for the Gloucester community. People are shopping more consciously and shops like this enable consumers to shop sustainably as well as look after the pennies.
From speaking with the manager, Ellen and her staff, they are very excited to get involved with the community and be part of what’s on in the city, which we welcome.”
Come visit our new shop
If you live in the area, or if you’re passing through, drop in and explore our sustainable and ethical second-hand selection of clothes, accessories and household goods. An item is waiting to be re-loved by you. The shop is open from 09:00 to 17:00 Monday to Saturday and you can find us at 28 Northgate Street, Gloucester, GL1 1SE.
Also, if you have any items you wish to donate, we’d love to have them! Please leave them with someone at the shop during the day. You can find out more on our Gloucester shop web page.
And if you are interested in volunteering for your local air ambulance charity’s newest shop, you can find out more by asking inside the shop or getting in touch with the Shop Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org.