Lottery boost for Peebles lifesavers

editorial image

Peebles lifesavers have been awarded more than £8,000 from the Lottery fund for equipment to help with their volunteer work.

The £8,100 from the Big Lottery Fund to the Peebles Community First Responders will go towards buying defibrillator simulators for training and other items to help the 20 community first responders in Peebles, Innerleithen and Walkerburn.

Peebles team secretary and treasurer John Swanson said: “It’s brilliant, it means we can buy extra kit.”

Money will also go towards torches, jackets, polo shirts and mobile phones as volunteers currently use their own.

The Peebles, Innerleithen and Walkerburn community first responders, who train together, started last December and have been called out several times in the last 10 months.

Community first responders are trained by the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) in emergency skills and the use of specialised equipment, such as defibrillators, and provide early help before professional ambulance crews arrive. They help people who have suffered a heart attack, anaphylactic shock, diabetic coma, stroke or asthma attack, for example, and their intervention increases patients’ chances of survival and recovery, says the SAS.

Responders are called out after an ambulance has been despatched where they are able to reach the person before the emergency service.

Volunteers go through a rigorous weekend training course in Penicuik, and attend monthly theory and practical training meetings in the Peebles and Innerleithen fire stations.

Retired marine superintendent and former Merchant Navy chief officer and community councillor, Mr Swanson explained he got involved after he was asked to go to a Peebles community resilience meeting. “It’s part of community resilience and it’s another thing that helps people,” he said.

“In the case of heart attack, if the community first responder can get there before the ambulance service, even by 10 minutes, that can make the difference between life and death. For every minute you delay you lose 10 per cent of the chance to live.”

The Peeblesshire first responders include a prison warder, a postman, a couple who work in the health service and another who works in a law office.

And the teams, who both have two trainees attending the training weekend next month, would welcome more volunteers to increase the number of hours covered by the groups.

“It’s a way of giving something back to the community,” said Mr Swanson.

The Earlston Thursday Social Club also received £8,000 from the Lottery fund.

z Win a VIP millionaire’s weekend in Berlin – see page 32 to collect your code.