Ambulance Volunteers Support Check-in Service for Isolated and Lonely People in Wakefield

29 January 2021

Volunteers with Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust will be providing support to lonely and anxious people as part of a new partnership with Age UK Wakefield District.

Five Community First Responders (CFRs) have been trained to provide telephone support in the Wakefield area to isolated over 50s who are struggling during this period of uncertainty.

Brett Bousfield, Alan Wilms-Jones, Roger Gaynor, Leigh Harrison and Simon Gregson have signed up to take part in the new partnership and will be assigned a set number of telephone calls per shift from early February.

They will be supporting the newly-established services that Age UK Wakefield District has created to provide reassurance and check on the wellbeing of vulnerable service-users who are socially isolated and feeling lonely and anxious due to the pandemic. Using the Charity volunteer reporting systems, any concerns will be escalated to appropriate staff.

CFR Brett Bousfield, based in Ossett, said: “Working with Age UK Wakefield District is a fantastic opportunity for Yorkshire Ambulance Service CFRs to provide telephone support to some of the most lonely and isolated elderly people in our local community. A weekly friendly phone call will make a huge difference to their lives and let them know that there are people out there who really do care about them and their wellbeing, and who want to do something practical to demonstrate this.”

Alan Wilms-Jones, who is based in Kirk Smeaton, is unable to operate as a CFR at the moment due to COVID-19 so is looking forward to being able to volunteer in an alternative way.

He added: "Although I am unable to take part in my role as a CFR due to being at risk, I feel I can still contribute in other ways. In the current COVID-19 situation, helping out where necessary can ease the burden on other healthcare organisations."

The idea for the partnership came from Laura Williams, Community Defibrillation Trainer with Yorkshire Ambulance Service, who saw a volunteer recruitment appeal from Age UK Wakefield District.

Laura said: “A lot of our volunteers are currently shielding due to COVID-19 and thought some may be interested in supporting vulnerable Age UK service users while they are unable to operate as CFRs. But it turns out that some of our operational volunteers have signed up too!”

Produced by: Corporate Communications Department