Do you have a bit of spare time to help out in the community? Would you like to give something back to society and pick up new skills? If the answer is yes then volunteering may be the solution.
Today the Mercury is launching a campaign to help get more people volunteering in the Dales.
We have teamed up with volunteer groups in the area which need to recruit vital new blood if they are to continue helping in the community.
The campaign will focus on the key benefits of getting involved and look at groups in the area which are facing a growing shortage of helpers and a threat to their ability to provide needed services.
We are kicking off by featuring a vital Peak District life-saving group which has issued an urgent plea for help.
Bakewell First Responders was set up around ten years ago to support ambulance crews by providing first aid while patients wait for a paramedic to arrive.
It now has only two members – Dave Teare and Sarah Ashcroft – to cover a five-mile radius from the town.
Dave Teare, who has been in the Bakewell group from the beginning and is also one of the town’s PCSOs, said he felt a lack of time to commit prevented many people from taking up a volunteering post as a First Responder.
He added: “People can work as often as they want to and choose times they have available.
“There is no criteria that we do set hours.”
The responders are trained to attend emergency calls received by the ambulance service, until the ambulance arrives, including cardiac arrest, diabetic emergency, unconscious patients, breathing difficulties and seizures.
Dave said: “I always think that one day it could be me and for the sake of five or ten minutes someone can turn up with the right training that could prompt my recovery.
“I believe there is a chip in everyone that likes helping others. It is such a joy to be able to assist, you can’t describe it.”
All new recruits are given training by St John Ambulance.
In Matlock a life-saving family front the town’s First Responders – which has just marked its tenth anniversary.
The Gregorys – Terry, Carol and their daughter Nikki – provided 24- hour cover seven days a week for five years, alongside group coordinator Steve Holt, as well as holding down their own jobs.
There are now six team members but Helen Vine, service development manager at Matlock’s Red British Red Cross, said more helpers were needed.
She added: “We could also do with more volunteers.
“Members have the satisfaction that they are saving people’s lives and giving something back to the local community.”
Sam Tock of the Volunteer Centre Derbyshire Dales, which has a base at the Agricultural Business Centre in Bakewell, said the charity had lots of volunteering opportunities on offer ranging from fundraising, befriending to organising events.
There is also a variety of volunteering people can do from home if they have a few spare minutes. Unusual roles include transcribing old ships logs to help future climate change research.
Sam said: “The reasons people want to volunteer are as individual as the people themselves. It can be to enhance their skills, gain new skills, build confidence, get out and meet new people or just being able to do something worthwhile with their time.”
To contact Sam email email@example.com or call 01629 810907.
To find out more about getting involved with the Bakewell First Responders call St John Ambulance base in Chesterfield on 01246 200272 or call in to Bakewell Police Station to speak to Dave Teare.
For Matlock First Responders contact Red Cross House in Matlock Green on 01629 582 171.
n Is your community group in desperate need of volunteers?
Let us know and you could be featured in our campaign.
Telephone Julia Rodgerson on 01629 7622136 or email firstname.lastname@example.org