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, but now, with support from our local community and businesses, we have been able to purchase and re-livery our own car. Our community also supported our attempts to get a 4X4 vehicle - important in the Forest area and with their help and a grant from the Rural Development Programme for England we are fortunate in having been able to secure a new Land Rover Freelander to replace our ageing loaned Mitsubishi Shogun. 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.
Unlike the Fire and Rescue Service co-responders (who have the same training and equipment), we are not paid for what we do. Our team do what they do, for the benefit of their local community and the satisfaction helping someone facing a medical emergency brings.
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 ten trained and operational Community First Responders covering Bransgore and surrounding areas.
Mike, Jackie, Denis, Bill and Rex are based in Bransgore, with Jon, Barry and Sophie in Sopley and Sally and Sue, being based in Burley. All regularly attend emergency calls in our area. Our ex-operational responders, Tony and Derek, support the team at publicity events, and manage the collections and our website as well as other helpful duties. Like others, they are members of other Associations who aim to provide support and funding specifically for the Bransgore scheme. We welcome expression of interest from those looking to join.
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 in support of their community, especially so for the Burley and Sopley areas and to provide additional hours in Bransgore. 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. Jackie is the deputy co-ordinator and is our training officer. Derek will take on the role of finance officer making sure we manage our money well, while also managing our website. Tony has now taken on the vital role of "Events Manager" looking after our fundraising, and public events we attend. These include street collections and collecting boxes in the locality, attendance at Fun Day and other local fetes. Mike, Jackie, Denis, 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. Mike and Jackie had long careers in the blue light emergency services, Denis was in the military and runs his own businesses locally, Derek has project management experience for a range of international companies, Bill has experience in HM Coastguard and resilience planning, Rex is in specialist retailing, Jon is in property management and sales, Sally runs a local business and Sue has a nursing background.
The amount of time individual responders give is up to them and depends on their circumstances, but we do ask for a meaningful commitment in terms of hours per month. This is now expected to be a very minimum of 20 hours across the whole month. Not a massive amount and that's why we ask it is treated as the absolute minimum. Some who are at home during the day cover the daytime hours, those who work during the day cover the evenings or weekends, and we have those who cover right through the night. Our aim is to provide full 24/7 cover whenever we can achieve it. Those joining since mid-2010 have been expected to commit this minimum number of hours on-call per month to ensure we can provide the service we would want, and to 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 such that we require this minimum commitment.