accessibility & help

Inclusive First Aid is a resounding success say British Red Cross

23 February 2010 
For further information please contact

Henry Makiwa

telephone: +44(0)207 877 7479 / email: / out of hours 07659 145 095 

Thousands of people with disabilities have successfully received first aid education from the British Red Cross over the past three years, a report by the charity says today (22/02/2010).

The British Red Cross, with funding from The Big Lottery Fund, embarked on a three-year nationwide project known as Inclusive First Aid (IFA) to develop first aid training delivery for disabled people in September 2006. The project ended in December last year, with several thousand trainees successfully completing first aid courses across the UK.

Mark Beagan, the Inclusive First Aid manager at the British Red Cross said:
“The project has been hugely successful and we have trained at least a thousand more people than the target we initially set out to reach. As it has been so well received by the disabled community, we now plan to extend the scheme for the foreseeable future.

“The disproportionately low access to first aid training for the disability community was the main basis for the project. We worked with groups and individuals with profound disabilities and people living in care, and moulded the first aid training to meet the needs of each and every one of them,” he explained.

Since 2006, 5,900 disabled people have been trained in first aid, 1,532 carers have received an IFA certificate and – most impressively – 55 disabled people have signed up as Red Cross volunteers.

Former England football captain, Alan Shearer, whose centre in Newcastle hosted some British Red Cross courses, gave the IFA project a thumps up.  

Shearer said: "It's easy to assume that because someone is physically disabled or has learning difficulties that they can't learn First Aid, however this just isn't the case. This fantastic British Red Cross initiative has proved that, with the right training, people with disabilities are more than able to learn the skills to save a life.

“The British Red Cross Inclusive First Aid programme is boosting the confidence and independence of those it reaches, equipping more people with first aid skills and increasing their ability to deal with day to day accidents - and that's why I'm supporting British Red Cross Inclusive First Aid," Shearer added.

According to a British Red Cross report, at least 60 per cent of the people who took part in the project said they had little or no confidence to perform first aid before the training. In contrast, 95 per cent said they felt confident of their newly acquired life saving skills after the training.

When Kenny Mann of Norfolk had a seizure, he was pleased to find that, Malcolm Fowler was first on the scene to help him. Both men have learning difficulties and other disabilities; and Malcolm had recently been trained by the Red Cross, to deal with emergency situations.

“I found Kenny lying on the floor having a fit and didn’t want to see him hurt” said Malcolm who was the first on the scene.

“I asked someone to get help and when they had gone I put Kenny in the recovery position after he had calmed down” he added.

The British Red Cross has also produced supportive first aid material for the deaf and people with disabilities, including audio CDs, online material, first aid guides in Braille and web-based video clips in British Sign Language (BSL).

25-year-old Steve Wynne who runs the Coachability first aid training scheme in Margate, has particularly found the BSL clips unique.

Steve said:  “The IFA programme has not only given deaf participants knowledge of first aid skills which fits their abilities and needs, it has also empowered them with social confidence.”

“No longer do people sit at home, isolated and unable to participate at home or in their local environment, the Red Cross Inclusive First Aid programme has now given thousands of deaf and disabled people skills and confidence to perform First Aid,” he added.


Notes to editors

For interviews, pictures or more information, please call Henry Makiwa on 020 7877 7479 or 07659 145 095
• The British Red Cross continues to deliver and develop First aid education for disabled people across all parts of the UK. No other organisation provides or has plans to provide targeted schemes for providing first aid education for disabled people in the UK.

• It is widely recognised that 10 million people in the UK (or 17% of the population) have a disability (Department for Work and Pensions 2009). This  translates into  one disabled person in every four households.

• Around 3% of the population (currently 1,841,500 people) are born with a disability, such as cerebral palsy (1 in 400 babies), Down's syndrome (1 in 1000 babies) or Spina Bifida(1 in 2000 babies). The remaining 14% (or 8,158,000 people) will develop a disability in adult life, with conditions such as heart disease (affecting 1 in 25 people), Parkinson’s (1 in 500) or Multiple Sclerosis (1 in 705).


The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.

We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.