A community volunteer group has been recognised for its tireless and dedicated patient care on behalf of South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT).

Falmouth Responders won the Community First Responder Group Award at the SWASFT Staff Awards in recognition of the group’s commitment to providing voluntary emergency medical care to their community.

The accolade was presented by Ken Wenman, SWASFT chief executive, who praised their continued support to the public despite a challenging year.

He said: “The Falmouth First Responder Group are committed to their voluntary work with a unique passion and are always prepared to go that extra mile to ensure that their patients and families get the most appropriate treatment possible.

“Although there are only four members of the group, at the moment, during the last 18 months they provided 2,052 hours of cover and attended 329 calls. As well as attending a wide variety of medical and trauma calls, Falmouth is also one of Cornwall’s ‘falls groups’, attending potential non-injury fall patients, assessing and lifting them with a dedicated Raizer chair. This scheme has had a noticeably positive effect within the ambulance service, often saving the attendance of any further resources.

“The Falmouth volunteers regularly attend training meetings to develop their skills in their own time and freely help with other community events, including multi-agency training exercises, delivering basic life support and defibrillator training, fundraising and recruitment. They have recently helped train over 100 youngsters during a Restart the Heart event held in West Cornwall.”

The team’s commitment to helping their community was recognised in January 2019 when John Brooks, a first aid instructor with First Aid in Focus, received the Harbour Light’s 2019 Community Hero Award for his commitment to responding.

John spoke for his whole team after this latest award when he said: “I would like to thank the Trust for giving our team this award and appreciate the Chief Executive’s recognition of our efforts and commitment. We provide the Trust’s patients in Falmouth with emergency medical support and reassurance ahead of an ambulance.

“We have recruited two new members, who complete their training in January, and we are actively raising funds and looking for sponsorship for our own marked Falmouth responder car. We would also like to hear from any local residents who can spare some time to help our community.”

The annual staff awards acknowledge those who have gone above and beyond expectations and the dedicated service of long-standing members of staff.

Around 150 SWASFT staff and volunteers, and members of the public, who played vital roles in responding to emergency situations, came together for the event.

A separate award was presented to the SWASFT Responder Team for their support and training of hundreds of Community First Responders across the South West.

Christopher Buscombe, a specialist paramedic from Bodmin Ambulance, was also recognised for 40 years of tireless service to the community.

Sgt Chris Conway and Chief Inspector Tom Holmes of Devon and Cornwall Police were given a commendation for their partnership with the ambulance service.

SWASFT Chief Executive, Ken Wenman, said: “3,000 times a day, within the largest ambulance service in England, our people are saving lives, reducing peoples’ suffering and pain, and dealing with the social and mental health needs of our communities. I am personally thankful to them all.”