A dedicated group of unpaid trained volunteers who attend emergency calls across the Vale of Belvoir has received the prestigious Queen’s Golden Jubilee Award for Voluntary Service - equivalent to an MBE for volunteer groups.
The Vale First Responders were honoured with the national award in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours List announced in June and on Friday the group was presented with the honour by Sir John Peace, Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, at a ceremony at Langar Hall. He presented the group with a domed glass crystal and a certificate signed personally by the Queen.
The annual award, created by the Queen to mark the Golden Jubilee in 2002, is the highest honour that can be bestowed upon a voluntary group in the UK. It recognises the outstanding contributions made to communities by groups of volunteers.
The Vale First Responders, a registered charity, is a group of unpaid volunteers (currently 16 strong) who provide first response cover for medical 999 emergencies around the Vale and Bingham.
Responders are despatched by East Midlands Ambulance Service when they’re likely to reach a patient ahead of the professional ambulance service. Their role is to try to stabilise the situation and await professional help.
Each responder is supplied with emergency equipment, such as a defibrillator, financed by funds raised by the charity. Each responder’s kit costs the best part of £3,000, with the group grateful for support from local town and parish councils as well as individual fundraisers.
The Vale First Responders launched in April 2005, attending well over 3,000 calls since then. They regularly give up over 400 hours a month to provide cover. Often arriving within minutes of the 999 call, the team are trained to the nationally recognised First Person on Scene standard and qualified to deal with a range of medical emergencies. Backed up by ambulance service crews, they can often make a substantial difference to patients’ outcomes.