Members of the West Leicestershire First Responders

Monday, July 13, 2020

A group of trained volunteers who assist ambulance crews attending emergency call-outs has landed a surprise windfall of £2,500 from the Heart of England Co-operative Society.

Customers at stores in Hinckley and the surrounding areas voted for the West Leicestershire Community First Responders to receive the lion’s share of £5,000, raised through the sale of 5p carrier bags at Society stores in the area.

The money will be used for the purchase of vital, up-to-date equipment used by the volunteers in emergencies.

With 30 volunteers in the group, the First Responders assisted with 1,643 emergency calls in 2019.

Calls came from a wide radius, from Hinckley and Market Bosworth in Leicestershire, to Measham and Swadlincote in Derbyshire, and beyond.

Between them the volunteers share 14 emergency kits, each consisting of a defibrillator, diagnostic kit, oxygen and masks, and in some cases medical drugs.

Tania Sharp, Secretary of the West Leicestershire Community First Responders, said: “This was an amazing surprise donation and we sincerely thank the Heart of England Co-operative Society and every customer who voted for us.

“Unless a donation has been earmarked for a dedicated piece of kit all our donations are put into general funds so this will go towards upgrading our equipment, uniforms and general running costs.”

With the second highest number of votes in the region, St John Ambulance received £1,500, while Coping With Cancer – Leicestershire and Rutland, received £1,000.

The donations were part of a £25,000 community chest, raised through the sales of 5p single-use carrier bags at the Society’s 35 food stores across Coventry, Warwickshire, south Leicestershire and Northamptonshire, and shared out among 15 charities in the area.

It comes after the government introduced a scheme in 2015 to reduce the use of the single-use bags and to cut down on the resultant litter.

Government statistics show that in 2014 customers used more than 7.6 billion single-use bags, equating to 61,000 tonnes or 140 bags for every person in Britain.

After the levy was introduced in 2015 sales of the bags in major supermarkets fell by 86 per cent, equating to just 19 bags per person in 2016/17.

By 2018 the number of bags sold had further fallen, with 1.75 billion sold during the year.

Back to newsline