East Midlands Ambulance Service has won a £1m bonus for being the most improved UK ambulance service.
Four million people live in the area covered by the service
The money from the Department of Health is awarded for exceeding national targets in responding to emergencies.
Ambulance crews have to reach high priority cases - such as heart attack victims - within eight minutes, and category B cases in 19 minutes.
The region's ambulances arrived at more than 68% of these calls within the target time.
Ambulance spokesman Phil Morris said the money would be used for a variety of projects including relocating the service's control centre from Beechdale Road, Nottingham to a business park in Cinderhill.
The service was rated "weak" by the Healthcare Commission in October 2006 because it failed to hit targets in responding to non-urgent calls.
The service was getting to about 61% of its calls in the target time at that point, but by March the level had reached 68.66% - the best response rate in the country.
The service, which originally covered Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, and Derbyshire, was expanded last year to include Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire.
"To have achieved this is excellent," board chairman Chris Faircliffe said.
Ambulance trusts are expected to respond to 75% of category A emergency calls within eight minutes by April 2008.