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South Central Ambulance Charity

Our purpose is to support the work of South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) as it delivers exceptional care and improves outcomes for the people and patients in our local communities. Without the money we raise people in our communities would have to wait longer for help, which could affect their recovery.

scascharity.org.uk/ Fundraise for us


Registered charity no. 1049778

Member since February 2021

Latest News

Ambulance Service Develops Pioneering Mental Health Support Package For Staff & Volunteers With £100k Charity Donation

Ambulance Service Develops Pioneering Mental Health Support Package For Staff  & Volunteers With £100k Charity Donation

South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) and South Central Ambulance Charity have developed a pioneering four-part package of support for staff and volunteers to help overcome the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Projects include a Long COVID rehabilitation programme, which consists of cognitive behavioural therapy (talking therapy), exercise classes and mindfulness sessions, and a dedicated resilience programme which involves training staff as practitioners to identify and manage stress in colleagues.

The Trust will also partner with specialist bereavement charity Cruse and bereavement training counsellors to co-design a comprehensive support package to help staff and volunteers processing the loss of a patient, colleague, friend or a member of their own family. In addition to this, SCAS will provide mental health first aid training to groups of staff and volunteers to assist their colleagues but also to enable them to better support patients who have mental health issues and have greater awareness of their needs. The programme of initiatives has been made possible through £100k funding from South Central Ambulance Charity via a grant from NHS Charities Together designed to help trusts with staff recovery and resilience. SCAS and its 5,700-strong staff and volunteer workforce provides emergency and urgent care to more than four million people across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire, as well as patient transport to a further two million across Surrey and Sussex.

More than 700 staff at SCAS have been off work with COVID during the pandemic and Long Covid has affected a number of staff, with more than 30 currently off work and a further 13 on alternative duties. As this long-term condition is new and there are many variations in the symptoms each person experiences, treatment and support available to staff in the community is variable so SCAS has developed a bespoke service to support staff with their return to work. The Long COVID rehabilitation programme has been designed in collaboration with occupational health provider Team Prevent and offers six weeks of cognitive behavioural therapy to help identify and overcome mental challenges, pulmonary and functional exercise rehabilitation, relaxation activities and homework to supplement the course. The resilience programme, known as Sustaining Resilience at Work (StRaW), has been developed with psychological health consultancy March on Stress and will be used to detect and prevent work-related mental health issues and boost the psychology of the workforce. It is estimated that around 25% to 30% of all sickness days taken in ambulance services are due to stress, anxiety or depression, with between 5,500 and 6,500 days lost to stress at SCAS during 2019-20 and 2020-21. The StRaW programme will enable teams of practitioners to support and improve the mental health of colleagues through planning, guidance, signposting and, where appropriate, effective mentoring. Lisa Pickard, Health, Wellbeing and Engagement Manager at SCAS, said: “Like most NHS organisations, SCAS has been hugely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in many forms and with far-reaching consequence across our service and our workforce. “Frontline operational staff and volunteers working closely with patients changed their living arrangements to safeguard vulnerable members of their own families and staff have had to cover increasing levels of sickness and an increasing demand for patient care. “Others had to go back to front-facing patient care and away from other roles and volunteers over 70 were stood down for a long period of time at the start of the pandemic, while for other staff working from home has become the norm and for some this has been a difficult adjustment. “However, they have continued to work tirelessly to support patients in our communities and these important interventions will help to ensure our staff can all get back to full health, full strength and receive the support and attention they need to enable that to happen.” Vanessa Casey, Chief Executive of South Central Ambulance Charity, said: “We are delighted to have secured £100k from NHS Charities Together to help provide this essential package of support for our staff and volunteers. “We know from speaking to colleagues right across the organisation how important it is to do what we can to aid workforce recovery from the pandemic and to ensure these programmes remain in place to protect the health and wellbeing of staff and volunteers and, in turn, benefit patients. “The charity is proud to have already introduced additional training and new cohorts of volunteers in new roles over the past two years which have significantly enhanced patient care as well as workforce wellbeing so we want to say a huge thank you to our supporters for their generous donations of both time and funds.” Ellie Orton OBE, Chief Executive of NHS Charities Together, said: “As the national, independent charity caring for the NHS, we were delighted to work with South Central Ambulance Charity to make these valuable initiatives possible. We believe they will provide an important benefit for NHS staff and patients living in the region, including many of those impacted by COVID-19. “Thanks to the incredible support from the public for our COVID-19 Urgent Appeal, this funding can now make a much-needed difference to the NHS as it seeks to recover from the pandemic. We look forward to continuing our work with South Central Ambulance Charity and the network of NHS charities across the UK to help the NHS go further for all of us.”

Ambulance Charity’s fleet of response vehicles a ‘game changer’ for community responding

Ambulance Charity’s fleet of response vehicles a ‘game changer’ for community responding

South Central Ambulance Charity’s “game changing” fleet of Dynamic Response Vehicles (DRVs) has helped volunteer Community First Responders (CFRs) arrive ‘first on scene’ to provide emergency medical assistance at almost 7,000 incidents over the past year.

The Charity funded the purchase of 40 Dacia Dusters in 2020, with the range of 4×2 and 4×4 vehicles clocking up more than 120,000 hours as dedicated DRVs since then.

CFRs are members of the public trained to support South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) primarily by responding to medical emergencies and sometimes providing life-saving first aid to patients before paramedics arrive.

The 1,200-strong team also assist with ongoing patient care at the scene and operate across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Hampshire. They are funded solely by South Central Ambulance Charity, which provides equipment, training and is responsible for the entire CFR vehicle fleet.

Due to the locality of volunteers, they often arrive before an ambulance to many 999 calls, with the CFR able to administer potentially life-saving pre-hospital treatment.

Over the past year, the Dusters have attended 1,130 ‘Category 1’ calls to treat people with life-threatening illnesses or injuries, such as cardiac arrest, while 5,218 ‘Category 2’ emergency calls were attended where people had breathing difficulties or stroke and heart attack symptoms.

The fully liveried vehicles replaced several ageing cars of different makes and models that required constant attention to deliver the level of reliability that the role of a DRV demands.

The Charity specified 13 of its Dusters with 4×4, designed to help CFRs reach patients in harder to access rural environments and comfortably negotiate more hilly urban areas in wintry conditions.

Vanessa Casey, Chief Executive of South Central Ambulance Charity, said: “The Duster has been an excellent choice for community responding. It has met our expectations in terms of suitability for the role, having all the space we need and being 100 per cent reliable.

“The 4×4 versions have provided reassurance to our volunteers in reaching patients in more remote areas, such as bridal footpaths and rough tracks, where a normal car may have struggled. Feedback from our Community First Responders has been very complimentary.

“Some were a little sceptical at first, but they have all been won over by the Duster’s capability and specification, agreeing that they’ve been a real game changer in terms of patient care and raising the profile and visibility of the service that we deliver.

“Having the Dacia Duster fleet has really helped demonstrate the professionalism of our service and tells the public straightaway that they’re seeing a first responder. What’s more, we’ve also been able to attend events with the vehicles and their presence has helped us to attract even more volunteers.”

Luke Broad, Dacia Brand Director for the UK, said: “I’m really proud to see how the Dusters have helped South Central Ambulance Charity carry out invaluable work in and around the local community. “The Duster’s rugged and robust qualities are providing volunteers with the peace-of-mind they need to deliver potentially life-saving care, regardless of the conditions. South Central Ambulance Charity’s experience perfectly illustrates all what the Duster has to offer.”

24-hour ‘CPR-a-thon' in aid of South Central Ambulance Charity

24-hour ‘CPR-a-thon'  in aid of South Central Ambulance Charity

South Central Ambulance Charity has partnered with Tanium, a U.S. technology company with a UK headquarters in Reading, to teach staff cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and help them complete a 24-hour ‘CPR-a-thon’ challenge tomorrow (Thursday, 22 September).

This was the idea of Tony Larks, senior director for Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) marketing at Tanium and a volunteer community first responder for South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS). The initiative is designed to not only improve life-saving skills and raise funds, but also to remember the life of a colleague.

Angela Davies, 41, suffered an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest last year and sadly could not be revived despite the best efforts of paramedics, leaving Tanium staff determined to commit to doing all they can to learn CPR, raise awareness and pay their respects to Angela.

The event will see staff work in teams of eight to maintain 100 compressions a minute on CPR training manikins for 24 hours – around 144,000 in total over the period – with the aim of raising at least £6,000 for South Central Ambulance Charity.

In the UK, emergency services attempt resuscitation in around 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in every year, but just one in ten people survive to reach hospital discharge.

A cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood around the body, which is why CPR and defibrillators – devices which deliver an electric current to shock the heart muscle – enable anyone to provide help in restarting blood flow prior to the arrival of emergency services.

Chances of survival are two to three times higher with immediate bystander CPR – and a report published last year by the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) found 35.5% of patients who received CPR from a bystander survived to hospital discharge.

Earlier this year, South Central Ambulance Charity launched a new initiative in collaboration with community first responders like Mr Larks and the community training and engagement team at SCAS to provide Basic Life Support Awareness Training (BLSAT) to businesses.

The development of this programme led to Tanium holding four training sessions for staff to equip them with the skills and confidence to attempt to save a life – and prompted the decision to launch the CPR-a-thon fundraising challenge.

The event will begin at 10am tomorrow (Thursday, 22 September) consisting of staff teams who have raised a minimum of £200 towards the £6,000 total which will go towards the community first responder (CFR) programme at SCAS.

CFRs are members of the public trained to support the ambulance service primarily by responding to medical emergencies and sometimes providing lifesaving first aid to patients before paramedics arrive.

They also assist with ongoing patient care at the scene and attend more than 30,000 incidents every year CFRs are funded solely by South Central Ambulance Charity, which provides equipment, training and is responsible for the vehicle fleet of 51 Dacia Dusters.

“Every year our company runs a month of giving as part of our #TaniumGivesBack initiative where we support community projects or raise funds for good causes and this year, given the sad passing of our dearly loved colleague Angela, it felt appropriate to do something in her memory with the agreement of her family,” explained Mr Larks.

“That led us to the idea of offering staff an opportunity to learn lifesaving skills and then use these skills for a physical challenge and charity fundraiser in aid of South Central Ambulance Charity and its community first responder programme which I am part of.”

He added: “I want to thank Angela’s family for allowing us to hold this event in her memory and to Tanium for supporting it. While there is a team-building part to the challenge, there is no doubt the skills people will take away will prove invaluable to them and they will go on to inform and educate others as a result.”

Vanessa Casey, chief executive of South Central Ambulance Charity, said: “We can’t thank Angela’s family, Tony and Tanium enough for their efforts to support our CPR and defibrillator awareness and training programme as well as help raise funds for our community first responders.”

Tanium’s CPR-a-thon marks the start of a build up towards Restart a Heart Day on Sunday, 16 October, which will see SCAS host a series of events and training sessions. It will also feature a number of case studies and films on CPR and defibrillator awareness.

Paramedic Nicola Dunbar, head of community training and engagement at SCAS and Restart a Heart Day lead, said: “Tanium’s CPR-a-thon is a great way to mark the start of our Restart a Heart Day activities and we want to thank Angela’s family, Tony and his colleagues for their support. We hope this helps to drum up further interest in the events we will be holding as we build up to the day itself.”