Newark Community First Aid members, left to right, Chris Paknoham, Kevin Walsh, Carole Squires, Stephen Toyne and Ammara Naeem. 060817SO5-2
Newark Community First Aid members, left to right, Chris Paknoham, Kevin Walsh, Carole Squires, Stephen Toyne and Ammara Naeem. 060817SO5-2

A campaign to recruit 10,000 people to learn key first aid skills, making them Newark Community Lifesavers, is launched today.

The Advertiser is backing the Newark Community First Aid initiative.

The organisation has trained almost 4,000 people since forming four years ago and has set itself the challenge of training thousands more  over the next two years.

Operations manager Mr Philip Jessop said basic life support skills were vital.

“The number of people in England with these skills is still woefully low, which has a serious effect on survival rates for conditions such as out-of-hospital cardiac arrest,” he said.

“Newark Community First Aid is determined to increase the number of local people with first aid skills by introducing a programme of training and education.”

Mr Jessop estimated 5,000 out of 50,000 people living in the Newark, Balderton and Farndon area had up-to-date first aid skills.

The target is for 10,000 more to gain enough first aid knowledge and skills to potentially save lives.

'Those trained in first aid are generally more safety aware'

“With 30% of the local population then skilled in first aid, many more incidents of sudden illness and accidents will receive trained care,” said Mr Jessop.

“Evidence over the years has shown that those trained in first aid are generally more safety aware after their training and have more confidence to make assessment decisions on casualties.

“This may result in fewer ambulance calls as many cases may only require first aid, therefore easing the strain on ambulance and hospital services.”

Free 2½ hour courses will be held at venues across Newark. Places are limited so must be booked.

There will also be drop-in sessions of 30 minutes on key areas of first aid in The Buttermarket shopping centre in Newark Town Hall and at other events in the area.

Mr Jessop hoped schools, community groups and businesses would get involved in the campaign and wanted to hear from anyone interested in learning first aid.

Dr Margaret McDougald, a member of Newark Community First Aid since it was set up, said the campaign was a great opportunity for everyone to learn key first aid skills.

“Many people say to us that they have always wanted to learn first aid and know it is important but they have not got round to it,” she said.

“The opportunity is now here. Book on a course or drop into a session ­— tomorrow could be the day a member of your family or a friend needs your help.”