A CHARITY which has saved countless lives and helped the sick and injured in and around Stratford for 75 years is now in desperate need of a lifeline itself.
Stratford Ambulance Association (SAA), whose volunteers provided first aid and help at 40 of the town’s major events in 2017, including the birthday celebrations, river, food and motoring festivals, is urgently seeking new headquarters.
The association, founded in 1944, fears it could lose its temporary home in Stratford’s TA centre in New Broad Street at any time, leaving nowhere to stage training courses, hold meetings or store its two ambulances used as first aid support for the community.
It ideally needs a new base in or close to Stratford with a large room to run courses for both SAA members and the public, with somewhere to also store the two ambulances.
Association chairman Ernie Coombes said: ”We are trying to raise our profile so we can attract more members, run more training courses and make more people in the community aware of how important first aid is in saving lives.
“Our role is very important in training people. We can help people in the community keep others alive until the ambulance arrives. We are making people aware of what to do in an emergency.”
Knowledge of first aid has become more important in the district in recent years, with an increasingly ageing population, more defibrillators located in towns and villages, and increased pressure on the ambulance service.
Training is already given to pupils at schools in Stratford, while two recent SAA courses attracted 80 people who were shown how to give CPR – vital in keeping someone alive until an ambulance arrives – and also how to use a defibrillator.
SSA is keen to attract more volunteers to help continue saving lives.
Mr Coombes added: “We want more volunteers to help us to do first aid in the local community and to keep the association and its history alive for years to come.
“We are a charity and non-profit making organisation, but we need to raise money so we can continue to help the people of Stratford and the local area.
“This will also allow us to continue to offer free first aid training to the community. In addition we need to raise money to cover running costs and maintenance of the ambulances.”
Support has come already from the Stratford Town Trust and Waitrose but more is needed if the association is to expand and move forward to meet the demands of the local community.
SAA used to work alongside the St John Ambulance Brigade raising funds to help its work and provide its ambulances, but four years ago the two organisations split as St John was reorganised on a regional level.
To offer SAA a new potential new home, find out more about courses, or make a donation email email@example.com, or visit www.stratfordambulanceassociation.org.uk to find out more about the charity.