Local group Bishop’s Waltham Community First Responders have received a prestigious award for their continued work in the local community. At a glittering ceremony in Manchester on 3rd November the volunteers were presented with the accolade of ‘Community Responder Scheme of the Year’ at the 2017 UK Heart Safe Awards.
The volunteer led group were shortlisted in July and have been eagerly awaiting the results since then. Going into the finals against 5 other schemes from across the country, the Community Responders won their category at first attempt, and are quite rightly celebrating this amazing achievement. Since their inception from the vision of retired local Ambulance Service paramedic and trainer David Williamson over 15 years ago, these volunteers have attended to the emergency medical needs of over 500 patients per year, nearly always arriving at the scene before the ambulance. With exceptional basic life support training provided by South Central Ambulance Service it’s their amazing 24/7 response time to an emergency that marked them out from the other Community Responder schemes. Regular in-house training including guest speakers, real life scenario simulation and 6 monthly requalification ensure that Bishop’s Waltham Community First Responders deliver the best care to their local community.
Scheme representative, Jake Balcombe, attended the event and was thrilled to accept the award in front around 300 other attendees. His receipt of the award accentuates the extra mile the group go to provide support for the local community. He emphasised that the group are volunteers and rely on donations from the public to provide everything from uniforms to defibrillators. He said, ‘the scheme would not operate without the support of both our local community and the schemes’ volunteers, and I accept this award as a representative of them both’. The group have also gained praise from the Mayor of Winchester, Cllr David McLean, who reiterated how proud the Bishop’s Waltham Community Responders should be of this achievement and of their continued voluntary work in their community.
Since its inception in 2012, these awards are the UK’s leading national competition to recognise and celebrate the best in various ‘Heart Safe’ environments including life-saving activities. The awards ceremony and black tie event raised money for the charity Hand on Heart which is committed to reducing the number deaths of young people due to sudden cardiac arrest, a cause close to the heart of Bishop’s Waltham Community First Responders.
The diverse and enthusiastic group are always looking for new members, full training is given and no experience is necessary. If you are interested in finding out more then you can follow us on Facebook @BishopsWalthamCommunityResponders or contact the Coordinator on 01489 891911.