First aiders invite residents to awareness day in store

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Residents in and around Biggleswade will have the chance to find out more about the town’s St John Ambulance adult and youth units during an awareness day.

The first aid charity will be holding the event on Saturday, November 19, at the Matalan store, on Biggleswade Retail Park, from 9.30am until 3.30pm.

Visitors will have an opportunity to learn a number of basic first aid techniques, meet some existing volunteers and find out more about the work of the charity in the community. There will also be displays of the range of first aid equipment carried by volunteers, enabling them to treat a wide variety of conditions from burns and breaks all the way to strokes and cardiac arrests.

The unit is also keen to recruit some more volunteers to boost the number of first aiders helping people at events and around Biggleswade. Opportunities exist to join as both adult and younger volunteers.

Adult volunteers at the unit regularly carry out first aid duties at events including firework displays, local fêtes, football and rugby matches and major events such as Bedford River Festival as well as a number of other public gatherings in the local community. No prior first aid or volunteering experience is required as all necessary training will be given, including regular meetings at the unit.

Dedicated adult trainee first aiders can expect to reach a good standard of competency within three to six months.

There are two separate St John Ambulance units in Biggleswade. The adult unit caters for volunteers over the age of 18, and there is also a very well attended Youth Services unit, with Unit Manager Lewis Williams leading a team of dedicated volunteers who run the Badgers and Cadet groups.

Badgers are the youngest St John Ambulance volunteers, aged between seven and 10 years old, and work towards achieving their Super Badger Award, which includes learning first aid as well as completing 12 subjects ranging from Creative and Active to Healthy and Caring. This lively programme has been developed to enable young people to learn important life skills in a fun and safe environment.

Cadets are St John Ambulance’s volunteers aged between 10 and 17 years old. Youth leaders help them learn the skills needed to save a life, as well as guiding them through games and activities to work towards their Grand Prior Award, the highest accolade that can be achieved by a St John Ambulance Cadet.

Adult Unit Manager Tom Davison said: “We’re very keen to grow our units in the coming months so we can not only be ready for a busy events season next year but also start training the next generation of first aiders. Our units are friendly and very active and our existing, dedicated volunteers are a familiar sight working at events and in the local community.

“Visitors to our display on Saturday, November 19, can pick up some very useful first aid skills for free and take away information which will help them remember the techniques they have been shown. We really hope that a few will consider volunteering with us and I’d like to encourage enthusiastic and motivated local adults and the parents of local children who might be interested in starting their first aid journey with us to come along on the day.”

All potential adult volunteers will need to pass an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check.

To find out more about St John Ambulance, visit www.sja.org.uk