accessibility & help

Nail-painting girls brush up on first aid

27 January 2014

Dollis Dolls at their nail bar

Our first aiders recently visited a community nail bar that’s helping young people in an area affected by violent crime.

When a group of enterprising young women in London set up a nail bar, it was much more than just a vanity project.

The girls live in Dollis Valley, an area blighted by a high rate of gang violence and knife crime.

But at the Dollis Dolls Nail Bar, set up by the charity Art Against Knives, they find a safe place where they can get together and discuss the pressures they sometimes face.

‘Serious wounds’

Besides painting nails, the bar hosts weekly sessions where 48 regular attendees also get mentoring support, and advice on accessing education and employment. The focus is squarely on supporting the development of positive female role models.

However, the young local residents live in an environment where they might well witness altercations – and may even be called upon to deal with incidents themselves.

And that’s why the British Red Cross recently sent a couple of seasoned first aid volunteers to provide a bespoke training session.

Dangerous situations

The trainers began with a stark fact: it’s possible to bleed to death from a serious wound in just four-to-six minutes, while the average ambulance arrival time is 8-to-12 minutes.

They also shared a variety of gruesome tales and photos with the group, each of which outlined why it is so important to act quickly in an emergency.

During the session, local resident Emma McGuire pointed out a scar on her arm and candidly explained: “This happened here, on this estate. I was at a party with a friend and was stabbed in the arm.”

‘Positive thing’

She added: “My friend kept saying to me: ‘Keep it pushed together’, so I held the wound together myself and ran down to the lift. Her advice saved me.

 “Things like that happen round here. People see all sorts; it could be gunshots or stabbings. They are more likely to come across situations where they’ll need first aid skills.”

Emma was glad to see the Red Cross trainers. She said: “Learning first aid really can help, and people feel positive about it. When I put it on Facebook that I was going to learn first aid with the Red Cross, it got 100 likes and 35 comments. It’s a good, positive thing to do.”

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