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Every second counts: Wales’ first response teams share £240,000 awards

When a patient faces a serious emergency every second counts and a simple helping hand from a volunteer Community First Responder can often mean the difference between life and death. That’s why First Response teams throughout Wales are celebrating their share of nearly £240,000 awarded from the Big Lottery Fund to community groups recently.

A total of 63 community-based projects across Wales share the £238,841 awarded under the latest round of the Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All small grants programme (Full project descriptions available).
Thanks to the Big Lottery Fund, more people may well have a better chance of survival in several communities in Wales following the purchase of several defibrillators for Community First Responder (CFR) teams and the provision of vital training and equipment. There are more than 1,000 volunteer CFRs working day and night in Wales supporting the Welsh Ambulance Service in providing an initial response to patients suffering from potentially life-threatening conditions. CFRs do not replace or alter the normal response of a paramedic in a Rapid Response Vehicle (RRV) or an Emergency Ambulance, but support the patient until it arrives.

With their award of £2,153, the Prestatyn and Rhyl Community First Responders in Denbighshire, North Wales, will purchase new equipment which will allow more members of the team to be on call simultaneously. The grant will pay for kit bags, two pulse oximeters and two defibrillators. In Bridgend, South Wales, the Broadlands Community First Responders team will provide a new medical emergency first response service in the Broadlands, Laleston, Cefn Glas, Bryntirion and Bridgend town centre areas. Volunteer responders will help to reduce emergency response times and will provide life-saving first aid. Their grant of £2,640 will fund new defibrillators, medical response bags and protective clothing. And in a project encompassing Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Newport, Torfaen and Monmouth, the Gwent Defibbers group will spend £2,592 on supporting patients in the region who have been fitted with an ICD (implantable cardioverter defibrillator) by printing a bilingual information booklet and establishing meetings for arers.

Highlighting the importance of the funding, First Responder Officer, Tony Rossetti, said: “Every second counts when you are trying to save someone’s life and Community First Responder schemes are hugely beneficial in assisting the ambulance service to provide the best possible pre-hospital care for patients.

“Defibrillators play a huge part in the work done by CFRs to save lives. Research has proved that the sooner a patient in cardiac arrest receives treatment with a defibrillator the greater their chance of survival. And basic first aid skills prevent patients with potentially life-threatening conditions from deteriorating.”
He added: “We are grateful to the Big Lottery Fund for its support in purchasing defibrillators for some of our CFR teams. The defibrillators could well mean the difference between life and death for many patients and they will be a valuable asset for the CFRs and for the communities themselves.”

If you are interested in becoming a First Responder more information is available on the Welsh Ambulance Service website at:

Other groups funded today highlight the varied range of projects which can be funded under the Awards for All programme. With their grant of £3,065, Caerphilly People First will establish a youth club for young people aged 14-25 with learning disabilities in the area to help them with the transition to college and the wider community. In Carmarthensire, Ysgol Gynradd Ffairfach in Llandeilo will use thier grant of £4,470 to purchase new IT equipment and provide extra-curricular activities for children attending their breakfast club and after school club. In Powys, Mid Powys Mind (£4,919) will deliver a series of beginners' art and craft workshops and activities for people experiencing mental distress in the Llandrindod Wells area whilst the North Wales Deaf Association will hold a hearing loss information day at  Venue Cymru, Llandudno in October thanks to their award of £4,802.

Four groups in Rhondda Cynon Taff also share a total of £13,910 awarded in the area. With their grant of £2,971, Cylch Meithrin Aberdar in Aberdare will purchase additional play equipment which will enhance investigation and exploration opportunities for the children attending the nursery group and provide them with a healthier, more active lifestyle.

Gareth Williams, Awards for All Programme Manager for the Big Lottery Fund in Wales, said: “Awards for All is having a positive impact throughout Wales. Money is helping to establish groups, societies and clubs, promoting learning, increasing volunteering opportunities and helping to build stronger communities.”

Available in English and Welsh, application forms are available to download from or by phone on 0845 4 10 20 30.

Further Information:
Ben Payne - Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 02920 678 224
Out of Hours Contact: 07500 951 707
Public Enquiries Line: 08454 102030                           Textphone:  0845 6021 659
Full details of the Big Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards are available at:
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Notes to Editors

  • In Wales, the Big Lottery Fund is rolling out close to £100,000 a day in National Lottery good cause money, which together with other Lottery distributors means that across Wales most people are within a few miles of a Lottery-funded project.
  • The Big Lottery Fund, the largest of the National Lottery good cause distributors, has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since its inception in June 2004. It was established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
  • Since the National Lottery began in 1994, 28p from every pound spent by the public has gone to Good Causes. As a result, over £30 billion has now been raised and more than 400,000 grants given out across the arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.

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