Chorley community first aid group launches funding appeal after being hit by Covid restrictions
A community first aid group that has been going from strength to strength since being founded in 2013 is being brought back down to earth by the coronavirus pandemic.
Not-for-profit Chorley’s Angels - staffed entirely by volunteers - is struggling after seeing its fund-raising efforts badly hit due to Covid restrictions.
The group understands it is not alone in that respect - however it has not been able to access any of the financial support that has been made available.
The Angels have attended hundreds of events and given up thousands and thousands volunteer hours for the community.
Now it is seeking support from folk through a Justgiving appeal.
It has already been humbled by a donation from a couple who donated £500 from their anniversary fund.
Secretary and training manager David Forrest explained: “As a not-for-profit group, we have, unfortunately slipped through the cracks. Our income comes from donations received from events in and around Chorley and the North West.
“This year, there have been no events and face to face training has come to a stop.
“Chorley Theatre opened up for a while but other than that we have had no income whatsoever.
“We have though, had to renew pads and batteries on our nine defibrillators, paid our insurances and rental for medical gases. We have also, like others, purchased PPE for ourselves and our patients. Added together, quite a layout with no return.”
“Having heard on the news that the vaccine will not be rolled out to the general public until Springtime, it looks very likely that we will lose another year’s worth of income.”
Over the years the Angels have forged links with several of the local colleges with the aim of providing volunteering opportunities for young people.
Volunteering at an event and ultimately treating a casualty is where they gain vital experience, confidence and patient skills.
“Most of these young people are well on their way to achieving their dreams and aspirations,” said David.
“Some are already there.
“One of our early Angels is now a doctor, working against COVID-19 in Newcastle. We have many other young people studying medicine at universities in Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester, Cambridge and Liverpool, to name just a few.
“We also have many paramedics, student paramedics and would-be paramedics going through into their prospective careers. We even have quite a
few nurses and student nurses, radiographers and student radiographers to our name.
“Besides the NHS we also have historians, biologists, and many more. This in itself gives us a lot of pride and is a large part of what our community group is about.
“In other quarters, our Angels of Life trainers - this is our community CPR and defibrillator training section - have been busily teaching life-saving skills to the community.”
David said this initiative had literally proved life-saving.
He said: “We were very proud to attend the UK Heartsafe Awards in 2019, a national award, where we were finalists for the second year running. Prouder still to be accompanying Jessica Snape, one of our young people, now at university in Hull, who, whilst working as a temp at a company in Leyland, helped a
gentleman who had suffered a cardiac arrest, using the works defibrillator and saving the man’s life.”
He continued: “We pride ourselves on being an inclusive group - not just our membership but also the fact that we are willing to teach life-saving first aid skills to anyone.
“We have trained very diverse groups the skills of CPR and defibrillator use.
“From the Women’s Institute and Women’s Union to Brownies and Cub Scouts, charities supporting disadvantaged individuals, both young and old, we have even provided training to whole schools. We estimated that we trained more than 2,500 people last year alone.
“The Angels of Life are also working in partnership with North West Ambulance Service to provide CPR and defibrillator training to the community.
“This includes schools, community centres, church halls, private businesses, even public libraries and supermarkets.”
During the first lockdown, besides the front line workers, the Angels had members in laboratories carrying out vital COVID-19 testing.
Members even cleaned the ambulances when they had taken COVID-19 patients to hospital.
“We are a sustainable group, just struggling due to the pandemic,” said David.
To make a donation, go to Justgiving.com and search for Chorley’s Angels First Aid.