Community Volunteers

Rotary Club leads the Fundraising for Defibrillators in Keynsham and Saltford by Brian Smith

I first became aware of Arrhythmia Alliance when I attended a presentation given by their Chief Executive Officer, Trudie Lobban, on a proposed installation of an AED with 24/7 access in my local village within the Chew Valley. I was immediately struck by the importance of early defibrillation during a Cardiac Arrest and the fact that something like 100,000 lives annually could be saved within the UK if defibrillation was administered early enough.  Here was a chance for lives to be saved if AEDs were placed in locations that were accessible by the general public.

rotary logo

Being a member of the Rotary Club of Keynsham Chew Valley, I discussed this at the next Rotary meeting and, with their full support and that of the Rotary Club of Keynsham, I formed a small committee to look into the possibility of providing a unit in Keynsham similar to that being proposed within the Chew Valley.

It very soon became apparent that all members were very much in favour of us proceeding with this project and so we formed ROTARY in Keynsham.  This enabled the two clubs to work together to raise funds to take this project forward.

We made arrangements to hold a street collection in Keynsham and a collection at the local "out of town" supermarket to coincide with Arrhythmia Alliance Awareness week in June 2008.  We also made contact with Keynsham Town Council to advise them what we were proposing and offering to arrange for a presentation of the benefits of early defibrillation in the event of a Cardiac Arrest.

keynshamThis was subsequently arranged at a Town Council meeting and we were delighted to receive a generous donation and, together with our collections, we were in a position to purchase and install our first AED.  We decided that the local Fire Station in Keynsham was the best location and, with the support of the Station manager, we had an official opening on 15th November 2008 performed by local show business personality Fred Wedlock.


We have subsequently had other fundraising events and have purchased a second AED for nearby Saltford.  We are also instigating a Public Awareness Campaign throughout Keynsham and Saltford to bring to the local community the advantages of being aware of what to do in the case of a Cardiac Arrest.

Brian Smith, Community Service Chairman, Rotary Club of Keynsham Chew Valley

The Avon & Somerset Mountain Rescue Team working with Community First Responders by Duncan Massey

search and rescue

A little over three years ago an agreement was signed between the "Avon and Somerset Search and Rescue" (the local Mountain Rescue Team) and Great Western Ambulance Service (GWAS) which enables me to use my role as a Mountain Rescue volunteer for the benefit of the local community under the authority of GWAS. I serve the remote rural communities of the Chew Valley and the Mendip Hills, about 15 miles from the cities of Bristol, Bath and Wells.  

As a "solo responder" I have the same training and equipment as a Community First Responder but I travel in a Mountain Rescue vehicle which gives me the privilege of responding on "blue lights".  This enables me to travel further in the eight minute response time.  Since this arrangement has been in operation I have responded to over six hundred "red" emergency (Category A) calls in the local villages.  This has included over thirty patients suffering Cardiac Arrest, seven of which have recovered to full health after being shocked with a defibrillator.

In recent months I have been joined by other local volunteer Community First Responders and we now have a team known as The Lakeside Responder Group.  We are responding to the local community at a rate of about 25 calls per month.

I believe this to be the first scheme of its kind in the UK that uses volunteer Mountain Rescue Responders (including their vehicles and equipment) combined with Community First Responders for the benefit of local residents who are seriously ill in their homes. 

Duncan Massey from The Lakeside Response Group 

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