Friday 11th March 2016 – 9.15am – Chris Kowalik.
The head of a Community First Responder scheme in Shropshire has outlined his plans to recruit more volunteers and get a new response vehicle.
Russell Brooks, 43, co-ordinates Newport Community First Responders. He has himself been a volunteer for fifteen years, giving up his spare time to respond to nearby medical emergencies while a blue-light ambulance is en-route.
“If I didn’t enjoy it, then I wouldn’t do it.” he said, reflecting on his work: “I think it’s nice to realise you have made a difference to people’s lives, you have made a difference in people’s moment of need. There aren’t many things you can do as a volunteer where you can say you have such a massive impact on people’s lives.”
The Newport Community First Responder scheme started in 2000 under the former Shropshire Ambulance Service. Its members have attended thousands of jobs and they have celebrated two successful resuscitations: “One was a young guy on the astro turf at Lilleshall. The other one was a few years ago, one of our volunteers was at Penkridge market where somebody collapsed. She wasn’t actually on call at the time but she happened to have her kit in the car.”
Now, Russell is one of five volunteers. Between them they provide cover to Newport and surrounding areas for more than twelve hours a day. A sixth volunteer is being trained by West Midlands Ambulance Service, but Russell’s ultimate aim would be to have enough people available to respond round-the-clock every day.
“A good CFR is someone who wants to put something back into the community, or who has a caring nature, caring background, who can stay calm when everyone around them is panicked, but mainly it’s someone who wants to give something back into the community. It would be great if we could get more people on board.
“The more people we have, with a minimum four hours commitment per week, the more cover we can provide.”
And, to help them respond, they are fundraising for a new response car: “About ten years ago we purchased a vehicle; a van which five years ago was replaced with a Volvo. Unfortunately it’s got to the stage where that has to be replaced. It wasn’t new, it has served us very well, it has attended hundreds and hundreds of jobs, but we need to be able to replace the car. We’ve been very fortunate in the past in that we have been able to approach people like the Lions and Rotary. Newport Town Council has been very good to us over the years. Any money raised in Newport stays in Newport for the benefit of the local community, and is not placed in a central fund.”
Pictures: West Midlands Ambulance Service
To make a donation, contact Russell Brooks on 07973 506026 or visit Barclays Bank in High Street, Newport and pay directly into “Newport Safer Scheme”.
If you are interested in becoming a Community First Responder in the future, visit www.jobs.nhs.uk where any future recruitment advertisements will appear.
Note to Editors:
There is no current recruitment advertisement running on NHS Jobs. This press release is issued to raise awareness of the Newport scheme.