As thousands of young people embarked on their University experience last month, partying and socialising at various Fresher’s Week events across the country, St John Ambulance Cymru was there to ensure they stayed safe.
At Aberystwyth University, the local St John Ambulance Cymru divisions have been supporting freshers events for 10 years.
Support Manager for Dyfed County, James Cordell, explains;
“This year marked ten years since we started providing first aid and medical cover for Aberystwyth Freshers Week. Over that time, the service we provide to the town and university campus has grown massively.
“What started with a few first aiders, is now a huge operation”
“For nine nights, we establish a medical centre to treat and care for students and a first aid post in the town centre to deal with minor injuries. This is supported by volunteers, including first aiders on foot, ambulance crews, paramedics and nurses. Many of our volunteers are current or previous Aberystwyth Students who understand how important our service is, ensuring everyone stays safe and well.”
As so many students at Freshers Week find themselves in a completely new place, with unknown surroundings, St John Ambulance Cymru volunteers are there to keep individuals as safe as possible. James says;
“We have worked closely with Aberystwyth Students’ Union volunteers who provide welfare support and transport home for students.
“Our partnership with Aberystwyth University, Local Authorities and the Students’ Union is strong, and we look forward to the next ten years, and beyond, supporting Freshers Week.”
Aisleen Sturrock, Aberystwyth Student Union President described volunteers as “an amazing addition to the Aberystwyth community.”
“They make our town feel safe and their incredible bravery to help people and sacrifice to give up their time is truly admirable. They make sure our welcome week events are safe and memorable for all involved “.
Similarly at Swansea University, volunteers kept students safe at the Freshers’ Ball. Volunteers were also available at the Gerallt Davies Help Point in the city centre. Adam Cousins, a volunteer for the Gower Division, explains his experience volunteering during Freshers Week;
“A number of the people I saw were students that were suffering with excess alcohol intake, our various methods of helping people kept everyone safe.
“Our volunteering efforts significantly reduced the pressure on the NHS Ambulance Service and local resources.”
Throughout Freshers Week, Adam explains how the Gerallt Davies Help Point ran on additional nights in partnership with Swansea University, to support the new students.
Freshers events have been a great way to recruit new volunteers for the St John Ambulance Cymru Links groups. The student Links groups run at Bangor, Aberystwyth, Swansea and Cardiff Universities (there are also Links groups coming to Wrexham and Cardiff MET Universities this year). They are not only a great way to get students involved with volunteering at St John Ambulance Cymru, but also to meet likeminded people.
Jack Evans, Deputy Operations Manager for West Glamorgan, explained how Links have a vital role in providing volunteer cover to the wider community. When visiting the Swansea Freshers’ Fair, he commented on how
“it was great to see so many passionate people signing up for such a great cause” .
Hopefully, St John Ambulance Cymru’s strong relationship with Welsh universities will continue for decades to come.
To sign up or to find out more about St John Ambulance Cymru’s university Links groups, visit LINKS (sjacymru.org.uk).
Image: The volunteer team keeping everyone safe at Aberystwyth Freshers Week