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Wythnos Genedlaethol y Gwirfoddolwyr: mynd gam ymhellach

04 Jun 2024

FOR most people, the end of a hard day’s work is a chance to relax or spend time with friends and family.

But for one Machynlleth train conductor, clocking off the day job means clocking on for his community.

As part of National Volunteers Week, Transport for Wales are celebrating some of our people who really do go the extra mile.

Gareth Mason has been a Community First Responder in and around the town for 14 years and also acts as a “guardian” to several Public Access Defibrillators in the area.

“I got into it back in 2010 as I really wanted to be a bridge between patients and the ambulance service,” said Gareth.

“There is a lot of pressure on the service and these roles allow us to get a response to patients sooner, which can be the difference between life and death.

“I’ve been to about 16 cardiac arrest patients and on each occasion a defibrillator and CPR has been required.”

Community First Responders are trained and supported by annual in-service training by the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust. Training consists of a five-day course covering anatomy, physiology, traumatic and medical emergencies, basic life support and defibrillation.

The hours they volunteer for can vary between work commitments, with Gareth making himself available approximately 16 hours per month.

When volunteering, a Community First Responder needs to wear their uniform and will be on call for a particular area for the time they have specified and the Welsh Ambulance Service will contact them if there is a situation they can help with.

Marie Daly, Chief Customer and Culture Officer at Transport for Wales said: “Gareth is a fantastic example of where our people are going the extra mile for those in need in their communities and we will do all we can to help our colleagues where they want to volunteer.

“Volunteering comes in all shapes and sizes; it could be caring for a friend or relative, helping out at a homeless shelter or running a local sports team. But it’s so inspiring to hear of the brilliant work that goes on, often under the radar, so well done to all the volunteers out there.”

Judith Bryce, Assistant Director of Operations at the Welsh Ambulance Service said: “Volunteers like Gareth make such a difference to their communities and the people they help.

“We are always grateful for the generous gift of time from our volunteers across Wales, who attend serious and often life threatening emergencies.

“Our Community First Responders (CFR’s) are a vital part of our service and we are constantly amazed by the dedication, quality of care and selflessness that CFR’s bring to the people of Wales.”