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#WeAreTogether: colleague gives back to community

portrait colour photograph of Rachel Jeans

Rachel Jeans, deputy manager of out Campus Jobs programme, signed up to become a Community First Responder for South Central Ambulance Charity earlier this year, not knowing that an international pandemic was just around the corner.

Different to the recently launched NHS GoodSAM scheme, which was specifically set up in response to the coronavirus outbreak, Community First Responders are fully trained volunteers who respond to emergency calls in the area where they live or work, delivering life-saving skills until paramedics arrive. 

Rachel, who lives in Tadley, said:

I’ve always wanted to help people, I kind of regret not going down the medical route for my career, but I’ve always tried to incorporate it into my work, such as being first aid trained.

When she received her training in February, Rachel had no idea that she would soon be attending calls dressed in personal protective equipment (PPE). 

She said: 

“It has been strange: I did my first call to an elderly patient and we obviously had to wear a mask and gloves. 

“Community First Responders are so important, especially at the moment when paramedics and other health professionals are being constantly called to virus emergencies. 

“We bridge that gap in the community. If we are called out to a cardiac arrest and can be on the scene in two minutes, it can make such a huge difference. We can administer that initial first aid until paramedics can arrive and take over.” 

Rachel is part of a team of four volunteers who cover Tadley and the surrounding area. Each volunteer is required to be on-call for around 20 hours a month, or five hours a week, although Rachel says volunteers often do a lot more. 

Since she began working from home two weeks ago, Rachel has been managing her volunteer on-call duties around her full-time job. 

She said: 

“My line manager has been really supportive. As long as I am available for team meetings and I get my work done, they really don’t mind if I have to nip out to attend a call.” 

Campus Jobs manager, Jay Russell said: 

We're all very proud of Rachel for giving up her time so selflessly to help others in her community. She is a great example to us all, and we hope other members of staff and students alike are inspired to follow in her footsteps." 

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