Fashion stylist Gok Wan saw first hand the life saving work done by St John Ambulance during a visit to Birmingham to launch a volunteering scheme.
The charity opened the doors of its Birmingham HQ in Lionel Street, inviting Gok to find out just what it takes to save a life and be a part of the nation’s leading first aid charity.
St John Ambulance has more than 3,000 volunteer members across the West Midlands who are trained and equipped to be the difference in their community. They give their own time for free to learn crucial skills that they use as trainers, youth leaders and first aiders at local events across the region.
Gok is touring the country to promote Vodafone’s World of Difference scheme, which gives applicants the opportunity to become a two month intern with the charity of their choice.
With a successful applicant in the West Midlands in the scheme’s debut year, and a large volunteer base around the country, St John Ambulance was the phone company’s first choice charity when looking for a launch point in Birmingham.
The scheme lasts two months and produces 500 interns for charities nationally.
Keen photographer Dave Pinfield-Wells, from Coventry, worked with West Midlands St John Ambulance’s recruitment and PR department during February and March. He is also a member of St John Ambulance’s Three Spires Division in Coventry.
Janet Catto, St John Ambulance’s Commissioner for Training, said: ‘We had fantastic success with our intern Dave last year and he became heavily involved with all aspects of the organization – helping to set up a new first aid group in Redditch and take a range of photos for our website and internal publications to help showcase our life saving work.
‘First aid has the power to change lives in communities across the West Midlands. We intend to bring this experience to new and diverse communities, particularly among young people, and to do more of what we do best: teaching people first aid.’
St John Ambulance teaches first aid to young people in schools, through its youth programmes, employees for their workplace and people in the community. Some become St John Ambulance volunteers, providing first aid at events, acting as first responders to NHS emergency calls in the community, or supporting their local ambulance service.
The organisation has 105 volunteer groups around the West Midlands and Gok met a range of first aid trainers and youth leaders. Many of these volunteers have operational roles and help make events like the Pope’s recent visit to Cofton Park possible by providing first aid cover for those in attendance.
Andrew Dunnett, director of the Vodafone Foundation, said: ‘The Vodafone Foundation was delighted to accept St John Ambulance’s kind invitation to use their Birmingham HQ to help launch the 2010 Vodafone World of Difference UK programme.
"St John Ambulance is synonymous with helping others and making a difference to people’s lives but like many charities across the UK, St John Ambulance needs people from their local community to come forward and help make this difference.
"We hope many people will use our programme to make a world of difference to charities across the city.’
For more information on becoming a St John Ambulance volunteer, call 0121 237 3888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.