Funding secured for Oxford Road helipad

An emergency landing helipad and bridge will be built in central Manchester after the NHS trust hit its £3.9m fundraising target.

Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Charity’s Time Saves Lives Helipad Appeal was launched in September 2015 and expected to take two years to hit the target.

A donation of £1m was made by the County Air Ambulance Trust’s Helicopter Emergency Landing Pads Appeal. A further £1.1m came from the government’s LIBOR fines funds in the Chancellor’s Budget.

The bridge link and rooftop corridor were designed by Sheppard Robson for the trust, in partnership with Bruntwood, which developed the Citylabs building next to the car park with the trust through Manchester Science Partnerships.

Tony O’Brien, partner at Sheppard Robson, said: “Given the project’s location – within an estate of listed buildings and ambitious new major architectural projects – it was clear that there was a drive to create something of real architectural quality.

“We wanted the design to have an iridescent, shimmering quality that had a distinctive geometric form, but also reflected and was embedded within its environment.”

Maurice Watkins, chairman of CMFT Charity’s Fundraising Board, commented: “Every single person who fundraised has played a vital role in securing faster and more effective transfers for critically ill patients of the future. Together our supporters will be making a lasting difference to our patients and their families at the most critical of times, and for this, we cannot thank them enough.”

Funds raised by the appeal will enable the creation of a 24-hour access primary helicopter landing site, the first of its kind in central Manchester.

Located on the roof of the new multi-storey car park on Grafton Street, the helipad will be connected to the hospitals by a high-level link bridge and roof top corridor. The Helipad will serve Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Manchester Royal Infirmary and Saint Mary’s Hospital which are all based on the central Manchester site.

The new helipad will take one year to build. Construction work is scheduled to start in January 2017, with the facility due to be operational by the beginning of 2018.

Danielle Rigby, 16, from Bolton, was transferred to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital by air and road ambulance in Easter 2014. Danielle was involved in a car accident leaving her with a life-threatening head injury and was airlifted to the children’s hospital via parkland one mile away from the site. An onsite helipad would have meant Danielle would have arrived at the hospital much sooner to receive the life-saving treatment she needed. Sarah Rigby, Danielle’s mother, says: “Danielle is doing really well now and we are so thankful to all the amazing staff at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital who saved her life. We know better than anyone how important this Helipad Appeal is, so we are thrilled that it will now become a reality and other families in a similar position will get the expert treatment they need, as quickly as possible.”

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