Ambulance volunteers named outstanding team of the year at national awards

‘PASSIONATE’ ambulance volunteers in the Portsmouth area have received national recognition for their ‘outstanding’ hard work.

Saturday, 30th October 2021, 1:19 pm
Community first responders for SCAS. Picture: SCAS

South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) and South Central Ambulance Charity’s volunteer responders have been named outstanding volunteering team of the year at a national awards ceremony for their contribution to healthcare amid the challenges of Covid-19.

The 1,200-strong team of community first responders (CFRs) and co-responders were up against four other organisations for the title at the Helpforce Champions Awards 2021, with the winner announced on Friday.

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A SCAS crew member (right) and volunteer Nikhyta Patel (left). Picture: SCAS

Vanessa Casey, chief executive of South Central Ambulance Charity, said: ‘We are absolutely delighted our SCAS community first responder team has won this award.

‘The award recognises the enormous contribution each and every one of our CFRs and co-responders has made, not just over the last year but in every year.

‘We know the last year has provided many new and different challenges but it has also shown the true loyalty, resilience and passion of our volunteers – on behalf of everyone at SCAS we thank them all for their continued support and hard work.’

During the pandemic CFRs continued to respond to emergencies and support patient care but have also taken on new roles such as introducing teapot refreshment vehicles to provide staff with hot drinks while waiting with patients at emergency departments.

SCAS volunteer Stacie Clements. Picture: SCAS

They also volunteered in the control room and headquarters to dispatch CFRs, helped distribute donated goods from hand cream to coffee across ambulance service sites and taken on a variety of fundraising challenges to raise money for additional equipment and new technology.

Andy Long, a CFR based in Oxfordshire, said: ‘I have been a CFR for almost 14 years and I have loved every single second.

‘Covid-19 has been difficult and made life quite scary at times but we continued to do what we do because we know it makes a difference and is appreciated. This award is marvellous and to be recognised for something you do is really special – it means an awful lot.’

Helpforce was set up by former Marie Curie charity chief executive Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett to accelerate the growth and impact of volunteering in the NHS by collaborating with organisations and rapidly sharing insights and best practice.

Its awards ceremony celebrates the invaluable contributions made by volunteers in the NHS and this year focused on the role they have played – and continue to play – in managing the impact of the pandemic.

Sir Thomas commented: ‘How lucky we are to have them I applaud on your behalf the South Central Ambulance Charity and South Central Ambulance Service community first responders.’

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