2nd May 2012
A Penrith building firm has pulled out all the stops to support lifesaving charity the Pride of Cumbria air ambulance.
Atkinson Building Contractors, supported by a number of other local companies, has carried out thousands of pounds worth of improvement work to the air ambulance's Langwathby base free of charge. Air ambulance base manager Paul Burnage described the efforts of the local firms involved as "absolutely fantastic" and said the cash saved would now be spent on caring for patients. The extensive improvement work has been carried out over the last serveral months, with the finishing touches being put into place this week. Adrian Banks, of Atkinson Building Contractors, explained that the air ambulance team carries out its vital work from a set of prefabricated buildings at its Langwathby base.
The firm had been contacted by base manager Paul, asking it for a price for refurbishment work. However, having assessed the improvements needed, Adrian has contacted a number of other local companies which had all agreed to donate labour and supplies without charge. Among the improvements carried out have been installation of new kitchen facilities, office accommodation and "dirty" and "clean" utility areas, where air ambulance crew can clean up themselves and their gear after a call-out. A shower and drying facilities will also assist with the turnaround between call-outs. Outside the cabins, a path and canopy have been installed.
"It has made a huge difference to the base here," said Paul. "It has gone from what was to all intents and purposes three workmen's huts, which were just functional, to what we now look upon as out base. "Before, we didn't comply with infection control rules, which we do now. If the guys came back from the fells the couldn't dry their kit anywhere. Now we've got a hot shower, somewhere to dry the kit and a separate kitchen and office area. "It is acutally somewhere nice to work now rather than being a collection of huts." He added: "It has been a very, very nice surprise. The guys worked very hard. The electrians were working until late at night, in the dark with head torches on; they were absolutely fantastic. "The men who laid the path came in the freezing cold, working outdoors and what they have done makes a huge, huge difference."
Commenting on the impact of having the work carried out at no cost, he said: "All this has meant that funds will go into clinical care of patients rather than being spent on overheads. "It was something that we had to do but, because it has all been donated and all the guys have donated their time, it means that money which would have had to be spent anyway will be spent on caring for patients."
In addition to Atkinson Building Contractors, companies which have worked on the project include Lewis Contracting Ltd (electrics); Allan Hodgson Ltd (painting); Metcalfe Plant Hire (path); PMS Fabrications (canopy); City Electric Factors (heaters); Penrith Building Supplies (shower panels etc); Howdens Joinery Ltd (cupboards); and Eden Groundworks.