AMBULANCE service sees spike in interest from future volunteer life-savers following successful National Volunteers’ Week celebrations
A successful National Volunteers’ Week 2017 (1st-7th June) has resulted in a 360% spike in community first responder (CFR) registrations of interest for the region’s ambulance service.
In the weeks prior to National Volunteers’ Week, the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust received on average nine registrations of interest compared with 42 following this year’s celebrations.
There are currently close to 999 CFRs that make up almost 300 groups across the region who are trained by the Trust to respond to medical emergencies in the area where they live or work. Their aim is to reach a potential life threatening emergency in the first vital minutes before the ambulance crew arrives.
The Trust also has 140 car drivers who take patients to and from routine appointments, providing a vital service to local community members who are unable to transport themselves.
Their Trust User Group (TUG) is an independent group of volunteers from around the region who help identify ways of improving services and support the Trust with a range of activities.
Chaplains also play an integral part within the ambulance service offering pastoral, emotional and spiritual support to all levels of staff and volunteers regardless of their faith, belief or none.
During the Volunteer’s Week celebrations, the Trust ran a CFR takeover week (w/c 5th June), which included a celebration event for its Brightlingsea CFR group who on 10th June celebrated 20 years of dedicated service to their community. The Trust also ran cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) workshops in the high streets of Bedford and Norfolk, and unveiled another lifesaving defibrillator (AED) in Kedington.
The Trust’s volunteers provide a vital contribution towards helping patients in their communities. And their efforts don’t go unnoticed, with community members actively contacting the Trust to pass on their gratitude:
“The driver is so kind and helpful. A very good man. He makes me happy when I am worried. I wish all people were like him.”
Likewise, there is a great sense of comradery and personal fulfilment felt by the Trust’s volunteers:
Julie Lockhart, TUG member said: “It has been a pleasure to work with the Trust, although it can occasionally be challenging. I enjoy the work I do and find a lot of satisfaction in being involved”.
Simon Nourse, Halstead CFR said: “As a CFR I’m able to give something to our community…it’s a privilege to help those in need of help.”
David Scott, Essex CFR said: “I enjoy giving back after an illness in 2004 gave me a new outlook on life.”
Rachel Hillier, Diss CFR coordinator said: “I love the job and hope that I can continue to make a difference.”
Daniel Jacobs, Felixstowe CFR said: “It’s knowing I’m part of an amazing team who make a positive difference.”
Following the conclusion of National Volunteers’ Week, the Trust continues its focus on supporting and recognising its legion of volunteers with more events and reward programmes scheduled across the year.
For more information on the types of volunteering opportunities available in the Trust, you can visit their webpage at: http://www.eastamb.nhs.uk/join-the-team/volunteering-and-volunteers.htm.