St John Ambulance youth worker called out of first aid session
on gun and knife injuries to treat stabbing victim
Yesterday (9 April) a St John Ambulance youth
development worker was teaching life saving first aid to
disadvantaged young people in Lewisham, London when he was urgently
called to treat a youth who’d been stabbed in the street.
Fola Odebunmi, who works for our trailblazing
project, is leading an ambitious programme aimed at
teaching life saving skills to 1,500 young people not in education,
employment or training (NEETs) in Lewisham.
He was teaching first aid to those attending
the Woodpecker Youth Club in New Cross in the evening when one of
the club’s youth workers alerted him to the stabbing directly
Fola rushed outside to find a teenager slumped
in the street, bleeding heavily from two stab wounds to his
shoulder, close to his neck.
‘They were very serious life threatening
injuries. A friend was pressing a face towel to the wounds to try
to stop the bleeding. I showed him how to apply pressure to the
wound more effectively and we tried to keep him as still and calm
as possible until the emergency services arrived.
‘The stabbing showed how important it is to know life saving
‘He was conscious but in a lot of pain. An air
ambulance was circling overhead but couldn’t find a place to land.
I waited until two police officers arrived and took over then went
back inside to finish the first aid training.’
Fola was teaching emergency first aid –
including how to treat gun and knife wounds – to youngsters aged 10
to 17 when the drama unfolded.
‘I told them the stabbing showed how important
it is to know life saving first aid. What really disturbed me was
that a group of young people were messing about in a street nearby,
ignoring the boy who’d been stabbed and doing nothing to help.’
Wendy Human, Director of Charitable
Initiatives and Training at St John Ambulance, said: ‘An
unfortunate situation like this is frightening and life
threatening. Fola’s first aid knowledge allowed him to deal with
the incident calmly while delivering prompt help to give the
individual a fighting chance to live. He’s a strong example of why
we need more young people with these vital skills.
‘Our thoughts are with the victim and those
affected by the incident.’
The first formal qualification of their lives
Fola started working with young people in
Lewisham at the start of the year as part of our RISE
project, funded through a first aid partnership with the
UK’s leading engineering support services company, Babcock
He and a team of volunteers will spend the
next two years working with the borough’s disadvantaged young
people and helping them realise their full potential.
Young people not in employment, education or
training (NEETs) are being encouraged to train as peer educators
through the RISE project. This will enable them to pass on their
new first aid skills to other young people as well as giving them a
BTEC qualification – which for most will be the first formal
qualification of their lives.
(Respect, Inspire, Support, Empower) works to transform the lives
of young people in some of the country’s most disadvantaged areas.
It was born out of the desire of St John Ambulance’s youth members
to help other young people living in areas blighted by street crime
and violent assaults.
Since launching in four East London boroughs
in 2009, RISE has provided first aid training for more than
27,000 young people.
out more about RISE