Published: 23/09/2008 00:00 - Updated: 21/11/2011 18:54

Red Cross appeal for more volunteer help

The Portsoy arm of the British Red Cross are looking for more people to join volunteer first-aiders (back row from left): Tanya Betts, Fred Clark, Sandra Bell, Sheila Shearer, Martin Bell (youngest member). (Middle) Kathleen Thomson, Mary Jones, Sheila Deans (on 'Annie' the dummy), Alan Thomson and (in front in the recovery position) Sheena MacKinnon.
The Portsoy arm of the British Red Cross are looking for more people to join volunteer first-aiders (back row from left): Tanya Betts, Fred Clark, Sandra Bell, Sheila Shearer, Martin Bell (youngest member). (Middle) Kathleen Thomson, Mary Jones, Sheila Deans (on 'Annie' the dummy), Alan Thomson and (in front in the recovery position) Sheena MacKinnon.

THE Portsoy branch of the British Red Cross has appealed for more volunteer first-aiders. The local arm of the organisation, the Moray East First Aid Group, are hoping to bolster their numbers by offering "taster" sessions to anyone interested in joining them. The group are also looking to build what they call "community resilience" by having more people with basic first-aid training within the local community. The group meets on Wednesday evenings from 79pm at Portsoy's Institute Hall on the corner of Institute Street and Church Street. The two-hour taster sessions will run for the next three to four weeks starting this Wednesday. The meetings are open to people of all ages and levels of expertise, and cover every aspect of first-aiding from basic to enhanced skills. The idea behind the taster sessions is to give members of the public a flavour of what the group does and help people develop their life-saving skills in a relaxed and fun environment. Volunteer Dawn Gauld told the Journal: "Over the past couple of weeks, we've been discussing ways of opening up the Red Cross. "Our numbers have dropped recently, partly because we had a lot of sixth year school pupils who have now left for university. "We're planning to have a couple of weeks of taster sessions in first-aid. If people are keen, they can carry on coming and get their certificates. "The sessions are open to people of all levels of expertise they are fun and there's no pressure or exams. "There is already a good mix of ages from 15-year-olds to adults." Trainer Alan Thomson said: "The focus of the Red Cross at the moment is 'across the world and around the corner'. It is a huge international organisation, but there is plenty that people can do in their local area. "The taster sessions are a chance for people to come in, have a chat and learn about what we do. "If someone has the time give wants to take it further, we'll train them to whatever level they choose." Qualified group members regularly undertake duties at local and national events ranging from Tattie Shed dances in Portsoy to the massive Rock Ness music festival, where they work in the hospital tent. Some members are even involved in the country's only dedicated flood response team. For more information call Alan Thomson on 01542 882141 or Steve Gotts on 01343 542203. You can learn more about the work of the British Red Cross on the website www.redcross.org.uk.

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