Wales’ Health minister, Mark Drakeford AM, has today met volunteers from St John Cymru Wales and learnt how the charity will assist local health services over the Christmas period.
During the visit to the organisation’s headquarters in Cardiff, the Minister met volunteers who run the cycle responder unit, responding to emergency calls in areas which are hard to reach by ambulance, such as Cardiff City Centre.
Mr Drakeford also heard how St John Wales will support the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust throughout the Christmas and New Year period, including Christmas day, when crews will continue to transport patients.
Keith Dunn, St John Wales’ Chief Executive said, “It was fantastic for our volunteers to get the chance to meet the Health minister and we are grateful to him for taking the time out of his diary to wish them luck for what will be a busy festive period.
“We have more than 4000 volunteers across Wales, who give their free time to keep people safe, no matter the time of year. Christmas is the perfect time to thank them for all they do.”
22-year-old Andrew Tuck is a volunteer with the Barry Rescue division of St John Wales. He said, “I’ve been a cycle responder with St John Wales for a few years. When my mates are out celebrating at their Christmas parties, I’m often found cycling to assist people who are seriously unwell. The bikes we use are lightweight and fully equipped with lifesaving supplies, including a defibrillator. It was great to be able to show it to the Health Minister and see how impressed he was with what we do.”
St John Wales members will be assisting at alcohol treatment centres in Cardiff, Blackwood and Mold on ‘Black Friday’, 20 December. Volunteers will also provide first aid cover at a host of public events over the festive season including premier league football at both Swansea and Cardiff, countless rugby matches, the Nos Galan run in Mountain Ash, various Boxing Day swims and a whole range of other events including the Winter Wonderland in Swansea.
Health Minister Mark Drakeford said, “The volunteers at St John Wales do a fantastic job all year round, including Christmas Day, supporting the work done by the Welsh NHS and Ambulance Trust. It has been enlightening to hear about some of their experiences and I’d like to thank all those involved in St John’s work in local communities across Wales for their continued effort and dedication.”
To support St John Wales’ volunteers click the link
A donation of £10 could provide protective gloves for 200 volunteers, protecting them from diseases like Hepatitis and HIV. £22 could equip a St John Wales volunteer with a fully stocked first aid kit.