accessibility & help

Urgent call for volunteers in Barnstaple

16 April 2010

Wheelchair on kerb© InfoA British Red Cross medical equipment service in Barnstaple could close unless more volunteers come forward to help. Opening hours at the charity’s medical equipment service at Roundswell Business Park are already being restricted. 

Jason Garner, service co-ordinator, fears there is a real danger that the facility - which loans out medical equipment - could close soon unless more people come forward to volunteer. 

Jason said: "We are extremely short of volunteers. At present the centre is opening just two mornings a week, and whilst a regular weekly commitment would be appreciated, just a few hours a month would be helpful.

“Our centre loaned 150 items during 2009, and our volunteers deal with customers both face- to-face and over the telephone.” 

Help for skateboarder

One person helped recently by the charity is 12-year-old Ella Fisher from Braunton. Ella broke her leg skateboarding while staying at her grandparents at Christmas. She spent over a week in hospital at Basingstoke, where physiotherapists suggested her parents contact the Red Cross to borrow a wheelchair.

Ella’s mum says the chair was an absolute godsend, as it allowed the youngster to get out and about with her friends and even allowed her outside to enjoy the snow in January. 

Fantastic service

She said: “The service was fantastic – the Red Cross staff were really good with Ella, teaching her how to use the chair, rather than just talking to us.  It was also great that it was such a local service.”

All Red Cross equipment is available to young and old alike and is free of charge, although a donation is always sought. Volunteers need to enjoy meeting members of the public and be sympathetic to people facing a crisis in their lives. Volunteers also have the opportunity to become part of the Red Cross emergency response teams. 

Anyone able to volunteer should contact Jessica Meale on 0345 054 7111 for more information.

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