The camouflage team - Kurt Lynch, Christina Pringle, Caroline Lynch and Tina Higgins-Phibbs
The Newbridge Red Cross branch has made an urgent appeal for volunteers, as well as launching a fundraising drive to raise €25,000 towards the cost of a new ambulance.
Often at the front line in providing medical treatment at local and national events, the branch is holding an open day this Saturday April 30 to inform the public about the work they do.
“Our aim is to raise awareness of our branch, medical work, courses, skin camouflage, and hand care programmes to generate volunteers to join the unit and to raise funds for a much needed upgrade of our ambulance,” said unit officer, Sharon Landy.
Ambulances are normally retired after 15 years and the 14 year-old Red Cross ambulance is in need of replacement. Head office is giving €75,000 towards the cost of a newer second-hand model. This leaves a shortfall of €25,000, which the branch has to raise themselves.
Some of the up coming fundraising events include a church gate collection on May 11 in Newbridge, a demonstration and bucket collection at the Whitewater Shopping centre on May 14, a bag pack at Dunnes Stores, Newbridge on July 2, church gate collections in Naas on July 9, and bag packing in the local Tesco on October 29.
Sharon explains that an upgraded ambulance will make a huge difference to the branch, allowing them to give top quality treatment at various events such as the Irish cancer society GAA event, the Great Irish Bake Off, Hope (D) events, Little Muckers, Community Games, GAA matches, Electric Picnic , kickboxing championships, BMX championships, American football games, and equestrian competitions as along with other sporting and charity activities.
The branch also has also taught a class in Pipers Hill Community College, Naas, for over 12 years .
“We have advanced paramedic (AP) Dave who works closely with us and we have emergency medical technician Dave, two emergency first responders, instructors, camouflage team and a hand care team. But we do need more volunteers to join our team,” added Sharon.
In existance since 1970, the local branch has been actively involved in promoting postive mental health and suicide awareness. Volunteers have also noted the number of players suffering from concussion at matches. Often they are called upon to deliver treatment on the sidelines.
Based at the FAS training centre in the Industrial Estate in Newbridge (just off Cutlery Road), the services provided are very varied. The skin camouflage team go out to clients who require make up or coverage of various scars or other injuries. The hand care team call to nursing homes and other facilities to provide hand massage and nail painting for clients. The team are welcome visitors to the Irish Wheelchair Association in Clane. Volunteers are also building a relationship with the Carers Association.
“We were also involved in the Millfield Fire appeal, administering the vouchers for those who were affected by the fire,” she added.
The awareness open day this Saturday runs from 12 noon to 4pm at the FÁS centre. All are welcome. Anyone who would like to donate to the new ambulance fun can lodge money to the Irish Red Cross, Newbridge branch account at the town’s Bank of Ireland.