Tuesday, 19 December 2023: St John Ambulance’s innovative street first aid programme - Young Responders – which delivers hands on life-saving workshops to secondary and college students in high crime areas – has exceeded its year-end target of delivering to 15,000 young people and reached an impressive 15,600 students.

The Young Responders programme, rolled out in secondary schools, colleges, and via partnerships with charities, teaches young people life-saving street first aid skills such as what to do if a friend is stabbed, how to stem bleeding, handling a spiked drink and CPR.

Since launching in March this year, Young Responders which is being rolled out to high crime and under-served communities in London, the West Midlands and the North-East, has been making a big impact boosting first aid confidence amongst young people aged 11-25.

Data from the Programme shows on average just 7% of students before the Young Responders workshops said they would feel confident in helping someone in need of first aid. This jumped to an incredible 94% following the sessions.

Project Manager Pauline Bartley said: “What a great way to end the year… A huge well done to our Young Responders Programme Team but the real success story here are the young people benefitting from these workshops. We know it’s making a difference because they tell us it is.”

At a recent Newcastle College Young Responders session, Oli Moore, 16, who is studying for a BTEC in Sports and Exercise Science, said fears over knife crime were now common among teenagers.

He said: “These sessions have been really interesting and really useful, especially with how likely knife crime is. It is definitely a worry.”

As well as workshops in schools and colleges, Young Responders has partnered with various organisations including anti-knife crime charity Ben Kinsella, Barnardo’s, the Connor Brown Trust, as well as local authorities and police and anti-crime organisations.

Tom Jewkes, Ben Kinsella Operations Manager, said: “Young people aged 14-18 from across Barking and Dagenham and Islington have been taking part in The Ben Kinsella Trust’s Youth Ambassador Programme to empower them to become youth violence prevention champions within their borough and beyond. Young Responders is an incredibly valuable addition to the project, as young people are the most affected by serious youth violence. Therefore, the training sessions develop the Ambassadors’ understanding of knife crime further, as well as being equipped with lifesaving training to support them in their day to day life.”

Lucy Ivankovic, Barnardo's Interim Head of Children Services in London said: "We were delighted to host Young Responders training at one of our centres in south London recently. There have been several high profile incidents of knife crime in the region in the past year which can be traumatic for young people. We've seen through our sessions how St John's Ambulance's training can help young people feel more knowledgeable, confident and empowered."

The £1m Young Responder programme, funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery, is hoping to spread to other areas in the UK into 2024 if it can secure funding.