SCAS currently has 766 active Community First Responders and Co-Responders. Together these volunteers attended 27,890 emergency 999 incidents for the Trust in 2022-2023.
Volunteers normally respond within a three-mile radius of their location or use one of our 52 dynamic response vehicles (DRVs) to cover an area where our clinical coordination centre needs them most.
The charity works closely with the Trust’s Community Engagement and Training Team who manage and train the volunteers. The funds raised enable our volunteers to have the necessary equipment, uniform and vehicles to respond to emergencies. They also work together to promote basic life-saving skills across our communities.
It currently costs around £2,000 to fully kit out a Community First Responder, and additional funds are needed to buy and run our fleet of DRVs. Donations are also used to fund equipment such as lifting cushions to support non-injury fallers and public access defibrillators out in our communities.
Community engagement is also key and the charity support sessions to train the public in how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), chest compressions, and use a defibrillator.
Last year (2022/23) Community First Responders and Co-Responders attended over 1,000 concern for welfare calls, and nearly 900 non-injury falls. It is often elderly and vulnerable patients with these lower acuity calls and in many cases they can be seen more quickly and helped off the floor by a volunteer responder.
This is particularly beneficial because it is proven that morbidity increases every hour that a frail or elderly patient is left on the floor without medical support. It also helps us to prioritise ambulances and rapid response cards for patients suffering life-threatening emergencies.
The charity raised almost £500,000 last year to fund our volunteers and other projects across SCAS. Internal grants to support the health and wellbeing of our staff is another particularly important area.
Our volunteer manager supports all volunteers across the Trust and our volunteering strategy addresses how we can develop more volunteer roles and engage in partnership working with other community groups and organisations.
If you are up for a watery challenge in support of the charity, they are organising a dragon boat race in September 2023.
More information about the charity can be found at https://scascharity.org.uk