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Charity shop latest to take on the high street

24th March 2021

By Ollie Young

Fore Street is set to become home to the Cornwall Air Ambulance’s first-ever community space.

The charity has taken on a premises on Bodmin’s high street that was previously occupied by M&Co.

The two-level store will sell quality donated items ranging from clothing and homeware to furniture and electrical items.

In a first for the charity, the store will have a community space, 'HeliHub', to give shoppers, supporters and community groups a place to meet.

Joe Harriss, retail area manager for Cornwall Air Ambulance, said: “We are really excited to be opening a store in the heart of Bodmin, this is the first time the charity will have a presence in the town.

“This new store concept will offer more than just retail space. The community area will allow us to engage more with the local people and explore new ventures and opportunities which will support the charity and benefit the community as a whole.”

Building work is currently underway in a bid to transform the former M&Co shop into the Air Ambulance’s new shop, that should resemble the other stores it currently already has in Truro, St Austell, Camborne, Newquay, Helston and Wadebridge.

The team are aiming to be able to open the new store some time in May, although a specific date is yet to be set in stone.

The high street’s new tenants were welcomed by the chair of Bodmin Chamber of Commerce, Joy Bassett, who told the Voice: “It is great that the shop front now just won’t be boarded up and Air Ambulance is a good cause.

“The space will work well if they wish to use it as a community space too, which is good for the town.”

However, the news has been met with a whirlwind of discontent from residents who are disappointed that the premises will be used for yet another charity shop in the town.

Many had expected and wanted the shop to become home to a well-known national discount shop or an affordable high-street fashion shop.

Cllr Bassett acknowledged this, adding: “The problem is, it is another charity shop for us. The reality is that unless a big co-operative group of retailers get together and have lots of little stall holders together, the shop is too big otherwise for independent stores.”

Cornwall Air Ambulance is looking for new volunteers in the Bodmin area to help get the shop up and running.

Volunteer roles include donation sorters, clothes steamers, till operators, merchandisers, van buddies and PAT testers. If you are interested in any of these opportunities email

Over the weekend, the Bodmin Voice took to social media to ask residents which one shop they would bring to the town if they could.

The results were fairly conclusive with the majority calling for budget fashion store Primark.

There were some out-of-the-box responses too, with weekly markets, fancy restaurants and entertainment spaces among the suggestions.

But for the big brands, the top responses were: Primark, Poundland, Wilko, TK Maxx, Matalan, Marks & Spencer.

What do you think Bodmin needs? Share your views by emailing