Friday 31st July 2015 – 11am – Chris Kowalik in conjunction with The Ambulance Services Charity.
A leading figure in the UK Emergency Services has heralded the formation of a new national charity for the ambulance services as “meeting a very definite need” in the industry.
Sir Graham Meldrum, Chairman of West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation (WMAS) Trust for almost ten years, met staff of TASC, The Ambulance Services Charity, on a visit to its new Midlands Head Office.
He was on a fact-finding mission to the Coventry-based charity which was formed in March to help provide vital support services and advice to serving and retired ambulance personnel and ambulance service families in times of severe difficulty or bereavement.
Before joining WMAS, Sir Graham was involved in the fire service for over 50 years which included being HM Chief Inspector of Fire Services for England and Wales and Chief Fire Officer of the West Midlands Fire Service as well as being appointed Chairman of the Fire Services National Benevolent Fund, which is now known as the Fire Fighters Charity.
Sir Graham discussed ideas for TASC’s future development with Chief Executive Lorna Birse-Stewart, and how the two organisations can work together to promote and develop the UK charity.
He said: “I contacted TASC because I thought this was a great opportunity for me to give them any benefit I can from my experiences.
“We grew the Fire Services National Benevolent Fund from small beginnings into a large organisation which provides support and grants for firefighters and their families which is a similar mission to TASC except their focus is on the ambulance service.
“There are a lot of small regional benevolent funds and associations which carry out their own fundraising.
“TASC provides the opportunity for the whole ambulance services community to come together and get behind their own national charity which is dedicated to helping and support them.
“It also gives the general public, who want to show their appreciation and thanks to paramedics and other ambulance staff who have helped them, the opportunity to make a donation for the benefit of the ambulance personnel and ambulance service families it supports.
“I think TASC is meeting a very definite need because ambulance service personnel are facing increasing challenges and significant demands and this impacts in the same way as in other emergency services.
“Ambulance staff may suffer as a result of dealing with critical situations and exceptional challenges in the line of duty and are sometimes injured themselves trying to give medical assistance in difficult situations so they may need help with support and grants to look after themselves and their families.
“It will be good for TASC and the WMAS to work together because this is an ideal way for the public to show their thanks and appreciation to people in the service.”
Lorna Birse-Stewart, Chief Executive of TASC, said Sir Graham had also met Chairman Cliff Randall and Trustee Gordon Enstone during his visit: She said: “It was a productive and informative meeting and gave us the opportunity to explain the services we aim to provide to help support men and women throughout the ambulance service at times of crisis or severe difficulty.
“There is a real need for a national ambulance services charity and TASC will play a vital role in focusing on the issues that are facing our ambulance staff and help address the significant impact that the daily stresses and challenges have.
“TASC can offer help and advice with access to rehabilitation services, mental health services and counselling including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; bereavement support; and welfare and debt advice through our confidential support telephone line.”
The TASC Freephone Support Line telephone number is 0800 1032 999. For further information or if you would like to support the work of the charity, please visit www.theASC.org.uk
PICTURED: Sir Graham Meldrum, Chair of the West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (third, left) with, from the left, Cliff Randall, Lorna Birse-Stewart and Gordon Enstone from TASC, The Ambulance Services Charity. Picture: The Ambulance Services Charity.