Providing support to first-response emergancy
medical care in the Avon Valley of South
Warwickshire in partnership with the West
Midlands Ambulance Service

Welcome to the website of the Avon Valley CFR Scheme supporting CFR's in the Avon Valley

Avon Valley Community First Responder Scheme is a support scheme for Community First Responders (CFRs) in Stratford upon Avon and the immediately adjacent villages in the Avon Valley in South Warwickshire. Scheme Members include the CFRs themselves and Support Members. The scheme and its CFRs work in partnership with the West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) which provides the ambulance service in Warwickshire. CFRs are volunteers trained by WMAS to nationally recognised standards to provide emergency medical treatment to people in the community. CFRs are called out by the WMAS prior to the arrival of ambulance and paramedic crews to 999 calls to provide vital 'first on scene' assistance to people who are either seriously ill or injured.

Community First Responder Schemes are a national initiative and form an integrated part of the ambulance service. There are around 1,500 Community First responders working across the WMAS region. Our Scheme is backed up by the WMAS Community Response Manager for Coventry and Warwickshire who ensures close coordination between the Scheme and WMAS via the Scheme Coordinator. He/She is assisted by a CFR Training Manager who maintains regular contact on training, assessment and recruitment matters. Strict Operating procedures for the Scheme CFRs are set by West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

Scheme members and its CFRs are volunteers who give their time free-of-charge to call-outs, training and fund-raising. CFRs are trained and periodically assessed by WMAS and also have to have passed a DBS, Disclosure and Barring Service, check. In common with all CFR schemes we receive no funding from the ambulance service or the NHS and so we are totally dependent on fundraising in our communities in order for the Scheme and its CFRs to operate.

You can find out more about area supported by the Scheme here and the West Midlands Ambulance Service CFR Scheme here.

You can find out more about what we do here. Primarily, our CFRs will be called to attend 'Red 1' and 'Red 2' calls which fall within our designated area. These are deemed to be 'Serious and/or life threatening' and therefore, by their very nature, need medical help to arrive as quickly as possible. When a 999 call is made the Ambulance Service despatches an ambulance or paramedic crew to the incident as normal. At the same time they will contact the local CFR who is on duty. You can find-out how the call-out system works here.

One of the most important conditions that our CFRs will be asked to cover is where a patient has suffered cardiac arrest. The defibrillator, the most vital piece of equipment that the CFRs carry, would be used to deliver a controlled shock to attempt to put the patient’s heart back into a normal rhythm. In these circumstances, the patient's heart needs to receive this shock as soon as possible, ideally within the first 5 to 10 minutes after collapse. The quicker this can happen, the better the chances of survival.

Although CFRs are an integrated part of the WMAS, only a minimal amount of equipment is provided by the WMAS. The vast majority of the costs of setting-up and running the service has to met by fundraising within supported community itself. A CFR's  total kit, including defibrillator, costs  over £1800. We rely on fundraising and kind donations from local people, charities, businesses and local organisations to enable us to purchase equipment and keep the scheme operational.

A list of our supporters is here. We would particularly like to highlight the major contribution from Shakespeare Lions and the Stratford Town Trust. Initially Shakespeare Lions in conjunction with Voluntary Action Stratford Area, VASA, were tasked with managing the formation of this support scheme to local CFRs based, with our appreciation, on the Ettington Community First Responder Scheme. Formation funding was provided by Stratford Town Trust with significant further equipment funding in Autumn 2012 following scheme formation as a fully constituted organisation in June 2012. Without this help, this Scheme and its CFRs would not have been able to operate. Shakespeare Lions and VASA continue to support the Scheme by providing their valuable time. We are also grateful for the services of Denfield in connection with this website

Our website will tell you more about the Scheme, our CFRs, how we operate in partnership with WMAS and finally how we are funded. If you have any comments, questions, or would like to join us, please contact us.