25th Oct, 2016

Lifesaving borough charity calls on residents' support to secure large grant

Shaun Reynolds 26th Aug, 2016 Updated: 21st Oct, 2016

A LIFESAVING borough charity is aiming to win the heart of the nation after being shortlisted to receive a vital Actavo in the Community grant.

FastAid Solihull and Birmingham is one of five charities in with a chance of receiving a £2,000 grant from Actavo, a national building works retailer.

In order to receive the community grant though, the charity needs the support of borough residents as only the group with the most number of votes in an online poll will claim the grant.

Voting remains open until 5pm on Thursday (September 1).

The Community First Responder (CFR) group works with West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) to respond to life threatening 999 calls across Birmingham and Solihull.

Volunteer CFRs are equipped with a defibrillator, oxygen and a first aid pack.

They are responded at the same time as ambulance resources, but due to their location will often get to a patient just before the ambulance and are therefore able to start potentially life-saving treatment.

As well as providing care for people in their local area, the CFRs also teach life-saving skills.

Sarah Wilson, who volunteers for FastAid and donates 20 hours a month to the cause, told The Observer she has built huge community links since signing up and would recommend volunteering for the charity to anyone.

She added: “We receive full training from the West Midlands Ambulance Service to a national standard and if a call comes through we’ll be able to provide vital treatment before the emergency services arrive.

“When a call comes through we’re told where to go and information about what has happened – sometimes my presence can be life-saving.

“My first call-out when volunteering proved to be a life-saving call and there was a tremendous sense of achievement when successfully helping a patient.

“Only two weeks ago I received a call to help a patient living four doors away from me.

“After I had done my work he was taken to hospital and the other day he knocked on my door thanking me with a bunch of flowers and told me I helped save his life – it was an incredible moment.”

The charity’s nomination isn’t the only success they’ve tasted this year though.

Earlier in the year FastAid Solihull and Birmingham received the prestigious Queen’s Award – something that members described as a huge honour.

Sarah added: “The charity received the prestigious Queen’s Award earlier this year which was a tribute to all the hard work people involved in the charity put in.

“To receive the £2,000 grant would be a tremendous boost and something we can use to invest in equipment to help save more lives in Solihull.

“Ambulance staff are often stretched to their capacity – we’re there to help and provide immediate life saving care should it be required.

“Other than life-saving missions we also branch out into the community to teach CPR and fundraise – we are a charity so we rely entirely on public donations.”

To cast your vote in the online poll, visit https://www.actavodirect.com/community-project where FastAid Solihull and Birmingham are listed as Option Two.