Events at risk without new volunteer medics

PUBLISHED: 13:00 16 June 2016

Wessex Ambulance Service award winners.

Wessex Ambulance Service award winners.

Archant

Sport and community events could be prevented from going ahead if a Weston-super-Mare first aid charity cannot recruit more volunteers.

The chairman of Wessex Ambulance Trust says the situation has got desperate after some of the group’s volunteers were forced to quit due to university and work commitments.

The trust was founded in 2001, and provides free first aid training to its members in exchange for them volunteering at events in Weston.

Chairman Barrie Sleeman said: “We are desperately looking for volunteers.

“We ask for their voluntary work and in exchange we will put them through all their training, get them certificates and uniform.

“We are getting to the stage now where people have gone on to nursing and to university to train as paramedics, and we are left with very few again.

“The events cannot operate without medics being there because of the insurance side.

“Without medics, their event cannot go ahead, just as if we had to leave an event, that event would have to stop.”

The trust covers sport tournaments, and will also provide support at community events, such as the upcoming Weston Pride.

The trust did have 15 volunteers, but this has now decreased, and a recent judo event needed six volunteers, plus an ambulance crew.

Mr Sleeman said: “We do a lot for the community and we have put a lot in to it.

“And when people ring for medical cover, I don’t like letting them down but we are getting busier and busier.”

The trust has two road ambulances, a response car and a mobile first aid unit – but it is also in need of drivers.

Mr Sleeman said: “Sometimes I have the volunteers to do the event, but not the drivers.

“We are often the first person on the scene.

“Volunteers can be partly-trained, but they don’t have to be.

“We will do all their training. If they have medical knowledge then that’s a bonus.”

Volunteering for the trust has been a stepping stone for many of its members who now work for the NHS and Mr Sleeman said volunteering can be good for people’s CVs.

The group meets at Hutton Moor Leisure Centre on Monday nights from 7.15-9pm.

Anyone with an interest can contact Mr Sleeman on 07785 996831.

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