It was with great pleasure that Mary Walsh CEO was able to present Paddy Kelly with a cheque for 100 euros to support the work of Bagenalstown Community First Responders on the day that they officially  ‘went live’ for the very first time. Last Friday evening,starting at 8 o clock,  10 volunteer were on standby, with the National Ambulance Service,  ready to react to any cardiac, respiratory, or stroke-related emergencies in a 5 km radius around Bagenalstown. This is the first group of its kind in Carlow and only the second in the whole country.

It has been a long journey to get to this great day. The ten volunteers were in training from April to October, arising out of an idea in Paddy’s head when he was involved with the Text Alert scheme in Bagenalstown. He was quick to acknowledge the support of Carlow County Development Partnership, especially through the support given to the group by SICAP Development Specialist Annette Fox: “We would have been lost without you”, he said. “Until we met you we were just barely going along”.

The system works in the following way. The trained volunteers are on duty for the weekend period and when a call is received through 999 at the National Ambulance service, they are notified and will make their way to the person who needs them. As Paddy explained, the first few minutes can be critical in the case of a  Stroke or Heart attack, and the volunteers will be on hand to assist the person until the arrival of the Ambulance which can take up to 20 minutes. Because of the challenging nature of the work, Paddy admits to being “a little nervous” but is proud of the support that this service is bringing to the community.

Carlow County Development Partnership looks forward to continuing its support for this great initiative in the New Year