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Funding boost for new station

Wellington Free Ambulance [WFA] has received a $400,000 grant from the Eastern and Central Community Trust [ECCT], which has “sealed the deal” on the first phase of fundraising for the new Wairarapa Ambulance Station build in Masterton.

The new station on the corner of Russel and Queen streets will be a new home for the ambulance service while also being a hub for disaster response, aided by its IL4-rated design, meaning it can withstand a one-in-500-year earthquake.

The donation [the largest single grant ever given by ECCT] now takes the total secured fund for the station build to $7,846,000, which exceeds WFA’s original goal of $7,500,000.

WFA general manager of fundraising and communications Claire Carruthers said: “From the very first meeting, ECCT were 100 per cent on board with the need for and importance of the Wairarapa Ambulance Station”.

“They shared the vision of the considerable community benefits of the station in terms of emergency ambulance response, emergency preparedness and capability for everyone in Wairarapa.

“We can’t thank them enough for this generosity.”

ECCT Masterton-based trustee John Bunny said that considering the service and support for the community that is driven from an ambulance station, there is “no question that this project fits our vision of creating sustainable and equitable communities.”

He said they were proud to support WFA in ensuring it can be there for anyone across the region.

The big donation comes from ECCT’s Community Assets and Facilities Fund, which is designed to support capital projects and facilities that help create vibrant, sustainable, and equitable communities.

Construction of the station itself began in December 2023, with groundwork now complete, foundations laid, and structural elements well underway.

The station faced some delays related to site preparation and additional planning requirements due to the specialised nature of the IL4 construction. WFA said works are now progressing smoothly towards a March 2025 opening.

The facility will house all local crews and emergency ambulances, the patient transfer service, rescue squad, and the Lloyd Morrison Foundation Heartbeat Training Centre, allowing people to be trained in CPR and how to use an Automatic External Defibrillator [AED].

“This grant and all donations and support received from the community to date have funded the direct costs of building the station,” Carruthers said.

The station still needs about $605,000 to complete the second phase, including the internal fitout, resourcing, and equipment needs. This will include a new fully equipped ambulance dedicated to Wairarapa.

Freddie Wilkie
Freddie Wilkie
Freddie Wilkie is a journalist at the Wairarapa Times-Age; originally moving from Christchurch, he is interested in housing stories as well as covering emergencies and crime.

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