Together, we CAN help air ambulance patients

The way the charity Helipads For Hospitals
operates has changed.

Its aims remain true to the vision of its founder, John Nowell, who flew helicopters for the RAF and who helped train Air Ambulance pilots… to increase the number of helipads around the UK in order to improve the medical outcomes of patients flown to hospitals.

The charity had targeted Leicester Royal Infirmary and Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham, as priorities one and two. However, both hospitals have indicated that they do not consider a helipad as their priorities in the near future.

Also, it had been assumed that aluminium, mainly drinks cans, could be recycled, with additives, to make the raw material for helipads. However, it is now accepted that this may not be possible.

Thanks to litter-pickers across Leicestershire and the region, hundreds of thousands of cans and other items of litter are being removed from public places and roadsides. Their work is continuing and is commendable.

John and his volunteers are continuing to collect aluminium and Helipads For Hospitals will sell the alloy and will give the proceeds to the HELP Appeal charity   

The HELP Appeal is organised and co-ordinated by The County Air Ambulance Trust. It is a registered charity in England and Wales (1057063) and Scotland (SCO45963). It raises funds to provide helipads for hospitals across the UK.

Because of these significant changes, the Helipads For Hospitals website is out of date and has been suspended while it is updated. Please bear with us… and keep in touch via our Facebook page

  • By picking up cans YOU can reduce litter, improving our local environment
  • By recycling aluminium cans, YOU can reduce the need to mine bauxite, the raw material, and save energy
  • By donating cans to Helipads For Hospitals (H4H) YOU could save lives

How can you donate cans?

It’s easy… just e-mail giving us your street address (including postcode for our SatNav), your telephone number(s) and the number of bags or cans you have.

How many cans are needed?

We have recently reviewed our earliest estimates about how many cans we will need for each helipad. We know a helipad will require about 80 tonnes of aluminium. We are now working on the basis of the charity needing about 5.7 million cans for each helipad.

Where can you donate cans?

The current sites of our Big Red Bins are:

BRB 0001ShepshedBritannia St, Shepshed, Loughborough LE12 9AE
BRB 0002RuskingtonSt Georges Academy, Sleaford Rd, Ruskington, LincsNG34 9BY
BRB 0003SleafordSleaford High School, Jermyn St, Sleaford, LincsNG34 7RS
BRB 0004RuskingtonWinchelsea Centre, High St N, Ruskington, LincsNG34 9DY
BRB 0005SleafordCarre’s Grammar School, Northgate, Sleaford, Lincs.NG34 7DD
BRB 0006StamfordThe Cattle Market, Stamford, LincsPE9 2WB
BRB 0007SleafordHockmeyer Motors Ltd, Lincoln Rd, Sleaford, Lincs. NG34 8NP
BRB 0008Barrow upon SoarCo-op Car Park, 19-21 High Street, Barrow Upon Soar, LoughboroughLE12 8PY
BRB 0009BourneCorn Exchange Car Park, 3 Abbey Road, LincolnshirePE10 9EF
BRB 0010BeltonBelton Recreation Ground, Church Street, Belton, Loughborough Leicestershire LE12 9UG

But soon we hope we will have more BRBs…. Watch this space

The Big Red Bin newly delivered to Barrow Upon Soar on 07.08.2020

The Big Red Bin at Shepshed, with members of Shepshed Interact Club, who are supporting Helipads For Hospitals

The BRB sponsored by Sleaford Kesteven Rotary

You can see from the photos on this page that several Rotary clubs are supporting H4H by collecting tins and by donating the £720 (inc VAT) to provide Big Red Bins. In fact Rotarians are seeking a matching grant so for every £360 they raise or receive in donations, they can get a further £360, effectively halving the price.

So, if you or your employer has £360 — or even £720 — tucked away in a piggy bank, we would love to hear from you!

How can you help further?

Empty your cans fully — spillages of even a few drops of drinks per can can make our vehicles really stink! (Guinness and Coke seems to be the worst mix).

But empty cans take up a lot of space, so if you can crush your cans (even if just by stamping on them) they take up a lot less space in our vehicles. That means we don’t have to make so many journeys, saving time and fuel.

Members of several Freecycle groups have generously donated one-tonne builders’ bags which are an integral part of our logistics operation. If you have any spare big bags, please let us have them.

Last edited: 18:45 on Monday, May 17, 2021

15 thoughts on “Together, we CAN help air ambulance patients”

  1. Good morning – as a firm we have been collecting the aluminium can for the helipad appeal. We were going to take them to Allington Village store but this has now closed. Can you please advise if you are able to collect them from us. We are in Grantham and have a full dustbin bag.

    Many thanks,

    1. Hi Zoe,

      Did I reply to you to tell you that the collection builder’s bag is now located in Allington just inside the churchyard gates just down the lane from the now-closed Allington Stores? It was a great shame that the Stores closed down. They were really great supporters.


      John Nowell,

  2. Sorry for the delay in getting back to you… John and Jim have both been busy collecting cans today!

    These are the current locations of the BRBs (Big Red Bins):
    BRB 0001 Shepshed Britannia St, Shepshed, Loughborough LE12 9AE
    BRB 0002 Ruskington St Georges Academy, Sleaford Rd, Ruskington, Lincs NG34 9BY
    BRB 0003 Sleaford Sleaford High School, Jeremy St, Sleaford, Lincs NG34 7RS
    BRB 0004 Ruskington Winchelsea Centre, High St N, Ruskington, Lincs NG34 9DY
    BRB 0005 Sleaford Carre’s Grammar School, Northgate, Sleaford, Lincs. NG34 7DD
    BRB 0006 Stamford The Cattle Market, Stamford, Lincs PE9 2WB
    BRB 0007 Sleaford Hockmeyer Motors Ltd, Lincoln Rd, Sleaford, Lincs. NG34 8NP

    If none of these are convenient for you, please e-mail us by clicking on ‘Contact Us’ at the top right of this page and giving us your e-mail address, street address and phone number(s) and we’ll contact you so we can get to you as soon as possible.

      1. Hi Jo – we are alway looking for possible deposit points for our cans – it doesn’t always have to be in the form of a big red bin either. If you know of a potential site that would purchase one for public use or just have the space to locate large builders bags/ metal cages etc please get in touch with details for us to contact them. There are a few deposit points already in Leicester that you can use – just message us when you’re ready.

    1. Has the one in Barrow Upon Soar gone? It’s on the web page above but not the list in this message. We’d like ton start collecting but aren’t local to any of the others.

      1. Hello Viv,

        The Big Red Recycling Bin in the Co-op car park at Barrow-upon-Soar was there lats Friday when I emptied it.

        All the best & thanks for collecting.



  3. Hi,

    How do I request a Can Bank?
    Would like one in Sileby, but also need the Landowners Permission as well depending on where you locate it?

    Robert Butler – Sileby Environmental Conservation Volunteers Leader.

    1. Hi Robert,

      The Big Red Recycling Bins (BRB) cost about £720 – complete with artwork, locks, can crusher and delivery to site. We do have a BRB in the Co-op car park at Barrow-upon-Soar
      and we have more around – including a BRB at Leicester General Hospital. We can help with fundraising by selling our book, ‘A Day Above Leicestershire’ which sees for £15 and all the funds go into buying the BRB.

      To see one of our BRBs in action, there is one sited in the Co-op car park in Barrow-upon-Soar. There is another one in the Co-op car park in Birstall and we have just delivered one to Leicester General Hospital.

      The bottom line is that if everyone did just a little bit to support our recycling, we might just save the planet.

      All the best to everyone in your group.

      John Nowell,

  4. I really want to support this but you haven’t got any collection points in Leicester! I have several bin bags full but don’t have space to store any more so they’ll end up in general recycling rather than for you which is a shame … PLEASE can we have somewhere in Leicester to drop them?

    1. Hi Lucy,

      The collection points in Leicester are Co-op Enderby, Whetstone Club, Leicester General Hospital ( next to the NHS Charity HQ), Co-op Birstall, Co-op Barrow-upon-Soar
      and at Franklin Park in Braunstone Town near Fosse Park.

      If those locations are not convenient, I can collect form your location.

      All the best,


    1. Hi Eric, None as of yet. This initial collection is for the very first Helipad which will be based at Leicester Royal Infirmary. Thanks for your message. Best wishes, Katie

    1. Hi Naomi, yes aluminium takeaway containers and kitchen foil – if clean can also go along with the cans. Thank you for your support 🙂

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