Charity CEO speaks on closure of Rasen’s Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance shop

Karen Jobling, chief executive of the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance EMN-180509-173008001
Karen Jobling, chief executive of the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance EMN-180509-173008001

Following the news Market Rasen’s Air Ambulance shop is to close, chief executive Karen Jobling has spoken about the ‘difficult’ decision made by the charity and the way forward.

In a statement to the Rasen Mail, Ms Jobling said: “Our Charity continues to be overwhelmed by the support we have received from the people of Market Rasen following our difficult decision to cease trading at our current premises.

“Following a comprehensive review of our entire retail operations in early 2017, it was clear the Market Rasen shop had been declining for many years.

“Over the last 18 months, we have been working hard with the shop staff and volunteers to improve this, including the recruitment of a dedicated part-time shop manager and a review on pricing and restocking the shop.

“Despite our best efforts, the main reasons for the shop’s decline is a significant fall in passing trade, together with a drop in donated goods from local residents, meaning the shop survives on goods being transported from some of our other shops.

“Despite the best efforts of the volunteers and the shop manager, this is simply not financially viable going forward.”

She continued: “As a charity, it is important that we make the best use of the funds so generously donated from the public to ensure we can continue to raise the £2.5million needed to keep the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance operational and saving lives 365 days of the year.

“It would simply not be a good use of our resources to continue to support a shop that is continuing to decline despite all our best efforts.

“We are extremely grateful to Market Rasen’s Mayor, John Matthews, and his continued support of our Charity.

“We understand his concerns regarding the social aspect our shop has played over the years, and the valuable part we play in the community.

“With this in mind, we have welcomed a discussion with him on how we could potentially work together.

“We understand that he is personally championing the Tuesday market and look forward to having further discussions to consider if there is an opportunity for our charity to play a part in this, for example in a retail ‘pop-up’ format.

“In the meantime I would personally like to thank everyone in Market Rasen, especially our wonderful volunteers who have continued to support our vital life-saving charity and hope that they will continue to do so for many years to come.

“The shop will continue to trade until December; if anyone would like to support us by offering shop premises rent-free, either short or long term, we would love to hear from them.”