It's officially Volunteers Week 2020

It's officially Volunteers Week 2020

collage of staff- From left to right clockwise; Richard Nevin, a CFR in Leicestershire. Matt Akers, a CFR in Nottinghamshire. Marie Roffey, a CFR in Lincolnshire. Mark Middleton, a CFR in Northamptonshire. Philip Stafford, a CFR in Derbyshire. All pictured chest upwards in work uniform.
From left to right clockwise; Richard Nevin, a CFR in Leicestershire. Matt Akers, a CFR in Nottinghamshire. Marie Roffey, a CFR in Lincolnshire. Mark Middleton, a CFR in Northamptonshire. Philip Stafford, a CFR in Derbyshire.

This week is the annual Volunteers Week (1 to 7 June) and although the way we celebrate our army of volunteers this year will be very different, we are still excited to use this week to acknowledge their hard work who help EMAS respond to patients and deliver outstanding care all year long.

Today we are highlighting the work of our community first responders (CFRs) who respond to 999 emergency calls in their own communities, and the volunteer car service drivers (VCS) who deliver a transport service to patients who need to get to hospital for a scheduled appointment, but who cannot get there themselves due to an on-going medical condition.

As the video above demonstrates, our CFRs are ready to respond to an emergency at a moment’s notice, delivering life-saving first aid in those vital few minutes before an EMAS crew arrives to continue treatment.

Richard Nevin, co-ordinator and community first responder at the National Forest CFR group in Leicestershire said: “CFR schemes do a lot more than just respond to 999 calls and they often go into schools and local community groups and teach first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

“During the COVID-19 crisis we helped deliver pizzas to the NHS on behalf of a local restaurant who donated them.”

During the pandemic, the number of patients that CFRs have been able to respond to decreased as certain medical emergencies require an appropriate level of PPE that is used by EMAS crews. However, CFRs are still responding to some call-outs and are determined to continue to support us in other ways.

Shane Rouse smiling, wearing uniform whilst holding up certificate of appreciation.
Shane Rouse, co-ordinator for East Northants CFR group holds up his recognition award for his scheme's support and dedication given to the local community.

Shane Rouse, co-ordinator for East Northants CFR group which has 12 members, said: “As a CFR group we are still responding to some jobs but not as many as we used to so we decided to get a group together to deliver PPE equipment to ambulance stations across Northamptonshire.

“Even though we can no longer respond to as many patients as we would like due to the pandemic, we know that by supplying the PPE to stations that we can keep ambulance crews out on the road so that their main priority continues to be responding to patients.”

COVID-19 has also had an impact on our  Volunteer Car Service (VCS) but some of our VCS volunteers are currently still in active service, including Sandra Miles, whose story we covered last year as part of a campaign to encourage more volunteers to join. Please note that filming of this video took place before the social distancing measures were introduced by the Government.

Another of those 11 currently active VCS drivers is Monika Ciapala, who said: “It has been non-stop for the past 14 weeks.

“Since March I must have covered 12,000 miles between driving for EMAS, taking 130 patients to hospital, and also for Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust picking up and delivering medicines for patients.”

David Foster sat smiling in uniform.
Volunteer Car Service Driver David Foster.

David Foster, who began volunteering for EMAS after a kidney transplant in 2016, is another of our VCS champions.

David completed an incredible 18,106 miles on the road last year, transporting non-emergency patients with specialist clinical needs to hospitals at Birmingham, Burton, Babbington, Belper, Sheffield, Nottingham, Mansfield and Derby, to name a few.

He said: “I feel that by volunteering I am giving back to the NHS who have helped give me a second chance at life which means I can help others in a situation that used to be mine.”

Our Chief Executive, Richard Henderson said: “Thank you to all of our volunteers and for everybody who has supported EMAS in lots of different ways.”