VOLUNTEER first responders now have a new base that is being used to train personnel from across the North West. For around 13 years, Rossendale Community First Responders was based at Fearns Community Sports College, Stacksteads. The trained team responds to emergency incidents often arriving ahead of the ambulance crews.
Team Leader Dawn Taylor said: “Rossendale is one of the largest and busiest Community First Responder teams and we are the only team in the North West that had a proper home that we could use free of charge and we were always made welcome at Fearns. We were delighted with the facilities that we had at Fearns and when the school relocated the library into the main complex we were given the whole building to use so we developed it to provide a meeting room, separate training room and kitchen.”
The team has now relocated to the Police Station in Waterfoot because it is a more central location on the main Bacup Road. Dawn said: “We now have a training room, a conference room, dining area with kitchen and a store room, which is only for our use. We are now on the main road and the ambulance service is currently in discussions about possibly relocating to this facility.”
The new base has already been used to offer training sessions for the whole of the North West Ambulance Service. Inspector Dave Clarke said: “We have had officers that have attended the responders’ training sessions. This station is our divisional training centre and is used to train officers from Burnley, Blackburn, Ribble Valley, Pendle, Rossendale and Hyndburn. The facilities we have here are excellent. Officers are here 24/7 and as the First Responders have training sessions at the weekend and in the evenings there is always someone here. We appreciate the work of the Community First Responders because we often go to the same incidents.”
Headteacher of Fearns Helen Stead said: “We were pleased to support the Community First Responders while they were based here at Fearns, they do a great job and we are always keen to support our local community. As a more convenient and central place became available in Waterfoot, they took the decision to move. Although we were sorry to see them go, we fully understand their reasons. The Community First Responders were based at Fearns for more than 10 years and we would be happy to host them again, should the need arise.”
There are 22 members of Rossendale Community First Responders with two more being trained in the New Year. The team is looking for volunteers in Weir, Bacup, Stacksteads, Edenfield and Whitworth.
To apply visit http://www.nwas-responders.info/apply.php
Story by Catherine Smyth Media