Mayor visits Halesowen Unit to support youth recruitment campaign

Wednesday 31 May, 2023: On 24th May, Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, visited St John Ambulance adult volunteers and cadets in Halesowen to hear more about the charity’s lifesaving work and how recruiting more local volunteers will strengthen community health and first aid resilience.

Andy, who has been Mayor of the West Midlands since 2017, was given a tour of St John’s Halesowen Youth and Event Services Unit and discussed the role of local volunteers in the community and the first aid services they provide.

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The Mayor was briefed on the unit’s latest local projects and recruitment campaign to support the delivery of the charity’s Badger and Cadet youth programmes. The unit is recruiting new first aiders and youth leaders to tackle 1,000 young people on its waiting lists and help build upon the 45,000 hours delivered by young people nationally to support St John Ambulance event first aid operations in 2022. As a youth movement, the charity is committed to ensuring every young person is first aid confident by the age of 25.

St John volunteers across the West Midlands, play their part in enhancing community first aid resilience by deploying ambulance crews to support NHS trusts, running falls response services in Wolverhampton, and supporting the night-time economy in Birmingham to keep the public safe on nights out. This year, the Halesowen Unit celebrates 80 years of serving the community. The Unit meets weekly to train volunteers of all ages and will be holding events throughout the year to celebrate its 80th birthday.

St John cadets provided the Mayor with a hands-on CPR demonstration and training on how to use Automated External defibrillator (AED) which can double the chances of survival for anyone who suffers a cardiac arrest, with 30,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests taking place in the UK every year.

Andy Street Mayor of West Midlands said: “I want to thank St John Ambulance volunteers for everything they do to keep our communities safe. St John plays a vital role in supporting the NHS and local communities in hospitals, on ambulances, at events through community operations and youth programmes enabling young people to learn lifesaving first aid skills and become exemplar citizens across the West Midlands.
We have all seen them ready to provide first aid cover at local events in Birmingham and the Black Country. I’m delighted to support the Halesowen Unit’s recruitment campaign. I encourage people of all ages across the West Midlands to take advantage of the benefits of volunteering and support St John Ambulance’s work in communities to help save lives.”

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Judith Morris Unit Manager said: “We were delighted to welcome the Mayor to the Halesowen Unit and are extremely grateful for his long-standing support. St John is known for its presence at events and providing first aid courses, but we offer so much more than this. Visits such as this give valuable publicity to encourage young people to get involved.
We’re incredibly proud of our young people who join Badgers from 5 -years-old and Cadets from 10-years old, they regularly give up their time to train, fundraise and deliver first aid within Halesowen and beyond. As we celebrate 80th years of serving local communities, we encourage First Aiders and Youth Leaders of all ages who are an integral part of the life of the community, to get involved and help save lives”

Heather Griffiths, Unit Cadet Lead: who had the opportunity to speak with the Mayor said: ‘It was a pleasure to meet with the Mayor to discuss the difference St John volunteers are making in the West Midlands – from responding to local emergency calls, supporting the night-time economy, or delivering ground-breaking youth programmes”
St John has a long history of helping young people develop skills for life, many of whom will go onto work in the NHS. We are grateful for the Mayor’s support in helping to develop the next generation of healthcare professionals and lifesavers.”