Volunteers' Week

28 May 2021

Volunteers' Week logo

To mark Volunteers' Week (1-7 June 2021), we will be celebrating the contribution of more than 1,100 people who support our services by volunteering.

The involvement of our Community First Responders (CFRs), Patient Transport Service Volunteers, Critical Friends Network members and those who fundraise for the YAS Charity is invaluable, particularly over the last 15 months as many have taken on different roles to help us during the pandemic.

We currently have 956 CFRs who volunteered an incredible 273,564 hours and attended 10,578 incidents between 1 April 2020 and 1 April 2021. They attend medical emergencies and provide vital care, comfort and reassurance before an ambulance arrives.

In the past year, PTS volunteers have carried out 48,173 journeys (which makes a total of 354,123 journeys since our records began in 2015). They use their own vehicles to help patients get to and from medical appointments.

Twenty-three members of the public are registered with our Critical Friends Network which provides support, ideas and contributions about the development and delivery of our services.


My volunteering highlight...

Richard Ward, Community First Responder, Holmfirth

"Whilst on duty one Sunday afternoon, in October 2020, I attended a patient with chest pains. As I was conducting my observations, the patient went into cardiac arrest. I laid the patient on the floor, applied the defibrillator and administered one shock, before starting CPR. I asked the patient’s wife to call 999 and update them on the patient’s status and request an ambulance.

The patient started showing signs of life after around 30 seconds of chest compressions, and I was able to sit the patient upright, place them on oxygen and reassure them, and recommence my observations. The air ambulance, road ambulance and RRV took over from me when they arrived on scene.

I subsequently learned that the patient was given three stents during emergency heart surgery and has made a full and complete recovery. Had I not been in attendance the outcome would probably have been very different.

In that 20 minutes, everything I had been taught came to life, and every reason I became a CFR was fulfilled. Consequently, I still have a slight spring in my step , even today."

Ellie Batty, Community First Responder, Hedon

"When I log on duty and the phone sounds, I get a rush of excitement knowing that my next hour is about to make a difference to someone else’s life. I have attended lots of incidents over my time as a CFR but my highlight, and one that made me want to change my career, was the day I started in the morning and didn’t return home till the evening as I helped four separate people that day from someone with chest pains to a confused patient who I spent nearly three hours with trying to help him and ensure he was safe and cared for.

Every crew I have ever worked alongside has always made me feel part of the team and helped me progress in my knowledge and experience, even whilst their helping a patient themselves. The staff on the desk are so friendly they always make you feel relaxed and there to help whenever you need them, which I often do especially when trying to find the location of a patient! The Community Defibrillation Officers Warren, Drew and Trish answer my every question, again they can’t do enough to help you and their knowledge and expertise is incredible. They are always looking to increase our knowledge as CFRs with online training and scheme meetings. It is all this support from everyone in YAS that makes being a CFR my ‘highlight’ of any day!"

Lindsey Brogan, Community First Responder, Rotherham North

"I've been volunteering for over two years now and I really enjoy it. I love helping people where I can and making them feel better in what could be the worst time of their life. Every call-out is different and you never know what you could be sent to next. 

The highlight of my responding has to be my involvement in the vaccine roll-out. The pandemic affected everyone in one way or another so when I was asked to assist with the vaccine roll-out I jumped at the chance. It was great to see so many relieved people walk through the door with smiles on their faces, it was the moment they had all been waiting for and it was such an honour to be part of that.  

I've also enjoyed taking part in two Restart A Heart Day events in Rotherham at local schools, it's great to teach CPR to children and give them the confidence to know what to do in an emergency."


Rob Higgie, Community First Responder, Baildon

"I had been resuscitated as a six-week-old baby and felt I should become a CFR to be there for others in cardiac arrest if needed. I donate between 60 to 70 hours a month to the Baildon community being on call and since October 2012 I have attended 71 cardiac arrests.

I have 40-year career has been in sales. Earlier this year I was able to combine my passion for defibrillators and community resilience in my life’s work when I joined a company selling defibrillators. I now spend my working day selling defibrillators and most evenings and weekends being on call as a CFR ready to use a defibrillator in my community when needed."

Pete Vickers, Community First Responder 

"In one of my early call outs, I arrived at a house to find an elderly gentleman slouched in an armchair, he looked grey and sullen and unable to speak. I introduced myself and began his observations prior to the crew arriving. He was pointing to the mantelpiece where I spotted a notepad and pen. I handed them over and watched him write in capital letters ‘I AM NOT THE PATIENT.’ He then pointed upstairs so I unstrapped the blood pressure machine and set off. 

After battling to get my kit bag past an old-fashioned stair lift, I found the real patient in the bathroom. She couldn’t speak either, I suspected a stroke, her observations were alright really, but she didn’t manage the Face Arm Speech Test very well. The crew arrived shortly after and also struggled with the stair lift. Between us we managed to get the patient downstairs and into the ambulance. She was in fact the gentleman’s carer. The learning point is - don’t presume the first person you meet is the patient."

Maria Chappell, Community First Responder, Doncaster

“I am known for attending a number of calls to the boats in Thorne; on one occasion I lost my ID badge in the canal while getting onto a boat! I am also known as the furthest travelling CFR after I went from Thorne to Goole to support a patient.”

Roland Simpson, PTS Volunteer

"My volunteering highlight is helping a patient to get home safely during the heavy snow in the rural Yorkshire Dales in early 2021.

Early this year I had to collect a patient from a hospital appointment and take her home (between Reeth and Tan Hill). When we left the weather was not too bad, but by the time we arrived at Reeth there was quite a lot of snow and it was blowing a gale. Slowly we made our way up to the patient’s home which was a farm, the farm was down a track, and it was impossible to go down because of the amount of snow. I managed to get in touch with the patient’s husband and he came up to the main road with his tractor and took the patient home! It gave me great satisfaction to know that I had managed to get the patient back home safely."

Produced by: Corporate Communications Department