St John Cymru Wales, the country’s leading first aid charity, is creating a generation of lifesavers in Chepstow, by pledging to train 1000 pupils at one school alone.
The charity’s First Aid Awareness Programme is currently being taught by St John trainers to most of the students at Wyedean School.
It’s part of a programme which has been funded by a legacy left by a local businessman, who left money in his will to benefit charities in the community. The scheme originally intended to train 400 pupils in the Chepstow area – a target which St John Wales is promising to achieve more than twice over.
Brian Ellam, Head of Enrichment at Wydean school, said, “The students are really enjoying the sessions, the feedback we’ve had is that it was a great experience and they are always really pleased to received their first aid certificates.
“At this school we’re committed to developing the whole person. These sessions teach them the skills needed to save a life and will build their confidence to be able to deal with real-life situations.”
13-year-old Kellie Willcocks is one of the pupils who has already been trained at Wyedean school. She said, “I really enjoyed learning first aid. It’s good to know that if I ever get in an accident at least one person will know what to do.”
First aid was included on the National Curriculum under Personal and Social Education in 2000. However, teaching the subject isn’t mandatory.
St John Wales has teamed up with the British Heart Foundation Cymru, The Red Cross in Wales and the British Medical Association Cymru to form a campaigning alliance to raise awareness of the importance of teaching emergency life skills in school.
Suzanne Cass, St John Wales’ Director of Fundraising and Marketing said, “Our vision is to have a first aider on every street in Wales and we believe that it is never too early to start learning first aid. At St John Wales we would like to see all children leaving school with the skills needed to save a life. We believe that first aid is as essential as learning to swim.
“We are dedicated to providing learning, development and life changing opportunities to as many young people as possible, enriching their volunteering experience and inspiring them during their formative years.”
The charity is now hoping to set up a St John Wales division in the Chepstow area, to continue training the public in these lifesaving skills.