Ambulance staff have moved in with their fire and rescue service colleagues in Aston, in the West Midlands, marking the start of a new and exciting era of joint partnership working.
After more than 60 years of calling Henrietta Street Ambulance Station home, ambulance staff based there moved one and a half miles away into a newly refurbished hub on the site of Aston Fire Station on 21 May. The hub is on the first floor of a building adjacent to the fire and rescue service facilities and is self-contained comprising a mess room, dining room, kitchen, locker rooms, toilets, showers, office space and car parking bays for 10 ambulance vehicles.
West Midlands Fire Service has provided the trust with the temporary accommodation while negotiations continue to build a new joint hub in Aston, which could be up and running in about three years’ time.
Tony Iommi, the Trust’s Assistant Area Manager for Birmingham Central, said, “The move from Henrietta Street to Aston couldn’t have gone any better. It’s a real testament to the meticulous planning, hard work and professionalism of everyone involved in the project, both from the fire and rescue service and ambulance service.
“It goes without saying that moving out of Henrietta Street was emotive, as it’s been part of the trust for such a long time, but I’m confident staff will settle in well at Aston. For many staff, it’s going to mean working alongside the firefighters they’ve been bumping into at jobs for years! The hub is fresh, clean and modern with comfortable facilities for staff and is a world of difference their previous home, which was in a state of disrepair.
“Thank you to West Midlands Fire Service for providing this fantastic facility, they’ve done a fantastic job and have pulled out all the stops. It’s a privilege to be sharing a site with our emergency service colleagues. We were very grateful for the warm welcome provided by Station Commander Rob and his fire colleagues on Wednesday morning. Bringing the services together on one site is definitely the way forward and we’re already planning some joint exercises to further improve our interoperability.”
Rob Woolley, West Midlands Fire Service’s Station Commander in Aston, said, “The facility has been transformed, in a relatively short space of time, from a tired and empty building into a really smart hub for the ambulance service.
“I’ve already formed strong relationships with Tony and his colleagues during the refurbishment and I’m excited about the future. Personally, I like busy stations as it’s good to see lots of people about so I’m looking forward to our two services getting to know each other and hopefully, learning from one another along the way.”