22 May 2012
For immediate release Tuesday 22 May, 2012
For further information Samantha Whitwham firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact number 0117 3012624 or 07525 128 297
The British Red Cross in Taunton is looking for volunteers for a service that helps people regain their independence after an operation, illness or accident.
The Red Cross provides short-term loans of medical equipment, such as wheelchairs and bathing aids, for people with a disability or illness, but the service relies upon the valuable work of volunteers.
Pam Bailey, from Taunton thanked the Red Cross for the support received when she borrowed some medical equipment for her 80 year old mother, Wynne, after she broke her leg.
As well as offering advice about what equipment would make Wynne more comfortable, the volunteers were also able to arrange for a Red Cross ambulance to transport Wynne 200 miles from her home in Kent to Somerset where Pam and her husband, Roger, could care for her as she recuperated.
Pam said: “The staff and volunteers from the Red Cross were so helpful. They gave me wonderful advice on what would make Mum more comfortable and although we were able to collect most of the items ourselves, the team went above and beyond expectations to deliver additional equipment to our home.”
Pam borrowed a wide range of medical items for Wynne, including a wheelchair, perching stool, walking frame and shower chair. After three months, Wynne had recovered enough to return home and Pam delivered the equipment back to the Red Cross.
“Without the Red Cross I really don’t know how we could have transported Mum to Somerset where I could look after her. It was such a difficult and worrying time, but the support we received from the Red Cross volunteers really helped to ease some of the stress.
"My husband was master of a freemasons Lodge in Somerset and as we were so impressed with the service we decided to make the Red Cross medical equipment service the nominated charity for the Lodge’s Ladies Night fundraising event. The members and their guests were extremely generous in supporting the charity raffle which enabled us to present a cheque for £535.
“The money was used to purchase three lightweight wheelchairs that are much easier for older people and children to use. I’m glad that we were able to give something back to this essential service that supports the local community.”
David Furze, coordinator at the medical equipment service in Taunton said: “Our centre has helped many people like Pam and Wynne, and it’s really important to those who need it. Our volunteers are doing a fantastic job but we need all the support we can get to ensure its ongoing success.
“Without volunteers the Red Cross would never be able to give local people the help they need in a crisis. We depend entirely on people who generously give up a few hours of their time to help others.”
The centre, which is based at Red Cross House in Livingstone Way, is open Monday to Thursday between 9am and 5pm, and on Friday between 9am and 4pm. Volunteers are asked to make a regular commitment – just a few hours a week would help keep the service running at full capacity.
Volunteers monitor the issue of equipment, demonstrate how to use and maintain it to service users and generally oversee the day-to-day running of the centre. They should have good communication skills, enjoy meeting people and be sympathetic to those facing a crisis in their lives.
Anyone interested in volunteering for the medical equipment service or any other Red Cross service should contact Cathy Jewell on 01823 273730 for more information.
The Red Cross have medical equipment loan outlets across Somerset, including in Bridgwater, Burnham and Highbridge, Minehead, Street, Taunton, Wellington, Wincanton and Yeovil. Contact us to find out about volunteering opportunities at these locations.
For more information on the British Red Cross please visit: http://www.redcross.org.uk
Notes to editors
Red Cross medical equipment is loaned for just a small donation. Donations from our service users help us to continue providing this valuable service.
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.
Follow us on Twitter: @BRC_West