British Red Cross to stop providing first aid at small events in cost-saving shake-up
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British Red Cross first aid volunteer groups that have provided support at small public events across the region will be disbanded in a bid to save costs.
The charity will stop providing its first aid volunteers to small community events in East Anglia from April 30 following a review of its services.
However, Red Cross volunteers will still be providing first aid services at larger public events in bigger towns and cities.
There are around 53 volunteers affected by this change but the charity said discussions are being held for the volunteers to provide their support in other areas.
Fiona Moinuddin, head of event first aid at the Red Cross, said: 'The British Red Cross continually reviews its services to ensure we're best able to respond to the needs of people in crisis.
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'A recent review of our event first aid service found the smaller events were not covering their costs and were increasingly reliant on charitable income to operate.'
Ms Moinuddin said providing first aid at small community events took up a disproportionate amount of administrative time compared to the income received.
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She added: 'As a charity, we have a responsibility to ensure our charitable funds are spent on responding to humanitarian suffering and crisis.
'We have taken the decision to concentrate on providing first aid at larger public events, which are where we reach the largest proportion of people in crisis.'
With the Hellesdon Community Carnival making a comeback this summer, organisers have tried to get in contact with the Red Cross to find out more about its first aid service.
But a spokesman of the carnival, which is being organised by Kinsale Junior School, said the Red Cross had not responded.
'Now I know why,' she said. 'We have called St John Ambulance and got a quote from them and we are looking at other options.
'They can be quite expensive and we try to keep our costs down, but we understand we have to pay for the first aiders to be there and for them to bring their equipment so I suppose it's not that expensive.'
The Norwich first aid group has 35 volunteers, of whom 21 have been active in the last two years. Also to close are the Cambridge group, which has 11 active volunteers, the Ipswich group, which has three volunteers, and a group on the Norfolk coast, which has four volunteers.
Ms Moinuddin said: 'This closure is no reflection on our brilliant volunteers who have been providing the service for many years.
'We thank them for their service and the kindness they have shown to the people they have supported in their community.
'There are many ways to support people in crisis through volunteering at the Red Cross so we are discussing options with everyone affected and sincerely hope they will continue their volunteering journey with us in other ways.'
*Have you been affected? Contact Taz Ali on 01603 772531 or email firstname.lastname@example.org