Who we are
Bransgore Community First Responders are local unpaid volunteers trained and despatched by the ambulance service to attend serious medical emergencies, where life is at risk. We attend calls in the local area, usually within an 8/10 minute drive from the village centre. (But we have been known to go much further when requested by the ambulance service). That's an area of about 20-25 square miles. We have been fortunate in initially having had a sponsored response car thanks to the support of Jonathan Gates of Brockenhurst-then the Peugeot dealer for the New Forest- for a few years, and then, with support from our local community and businesses, we were able to purchase and re-livery our own car. Our community supported our attempts to get a 4X4 vehicle - important in the Forest area and with their help and a grant from DEFRA we were to secure a new Land Rover Freelander to replace our ageing loaned Mitsubishi Shogun. The South Central Ambulance Charity have decided we must now have vehicles of their choosing and have supplied Dacia Duster vehicles. When the response cars are not available, or if more than one Responder is on call, we use our own cars, no blue lights, no sirens. Being local we can still be "on scene" very quickly.
We are not paid for what we do. Our team’s motivation is the rewarding feeling they get when providing a prompt local response when someone in the community is facing a potentially life-threatening medical emergency.
What we do
We provide basic life support care until the arrival of the ambulance. We carry oxygen and a defibrillator as well as other medical equipment and pain relief. We can be with a patient very quickly - providing emergency care in the critical time before the ambulance arrives.
There are currently nine trained and operational Community First Responders covering Bransgore and surrounding areas.
Mike, Jackie, Bill, Laura, Rex, Lauren. Andy, Woo and Sandra are based in Bransgore . All regularly attend emergency calls in our area. Our ex-operational responders, Tony, Jacquie and Derek, are support volunteers for the team, assisting with a range of matters that help us, including publicity events, our website, donations, as well as other helpful duties. Like some in the team, they are members of other associations who aim to provide support and funding specifically for the Bransgore scheme. We welcome expressions of interest from those looking to join, especially from the Burley and Sopley areas, where we have traditionally found it hard to recruit and retain individuals. Call us on 0844 500 9699 for a no commitment chat if interested.
All our volunteers are unpaid and give their time for the benefit of the community and therefore receive no payment for their work. Our scheme in Bransgore is always seeking new members who will commit a minimum of 20 hours per month being on call if required in support of their community. However, they will attend calls anywhere they are sent by the ambulance service control room, wherever they are based.
Some of our team have taken on extra responsibilities. Mike acts as the group co-ordinator, the link between us and the ambulance service and outside agencies and looks after our response cars and driver assessing. Jackie is the deputy co-ordinator and is our training officer. Derek manages our IT and our website. Tony has now taken on the vital role of "Events Manager" looking after our fundraising, and Jacquie assists at the public events we attend. These include street collections and donations which come in, attendance at Fun Day, Burley Show, Beer Fest and Cider pressing and other local fetes and events. Mike, Jackie, Derek, Rex and Tony are members of the small group of who manage quick time decisions when necessary and form our “Project Group” for special matters.
The team have a wealth of experience accrued over many years and professions. Mike and Jackie had long careers in the blue light emergency services, Derek has project management experience for a range of international companies, Tony was an engineering manager and is also a local Councillor, Bill has experience in HM Coastguard and HM Government resilience planning, Rex is in specialist retailing, Laura is working in a local school and Lauren has experience in care home settings. Woo, Andy and Sandra have backgrounds in the Military Services. All our operational members have either undertaken enhanced levels of training or will do so over the coming months.
When they offer their time is a matter for individual responders and depends on their circumstances, but for many years we have asked for a minimum of 20 hours on call a month. That figure has now been adopted by the ambulance service for all volunteers. It’s not a massive amount and you are likely to be at home for most of that time until needed and so that's why we ask it is treated as the absolute minimum and not a target. Our aim is to provide the maximum number of hours possible. This will ensure our volunteers keep their skills and experiences up to date. Being a community first responder is a serious commitment and not one to be treated lightly. Not everyone has what it takes to perform the role. The cost of training and equipping our volunteers is significant.