First aid goes out on the street

Helen Warrell

The British Red Cross is running first aid classes for young people in London who are considered at risk of injury through gang-related violence or street fights.

The year-long project, funded by Barclays, aims to reach those who are reluctant to call the emergency services if their peers are injured in gang violence or knife attacks. All participants have been excluded from mainstream education.

Lucy Kiddle, vulnerable groups trainer for the Red Cross, co-operates with Youth Offending Teams and Pupil Referral Units to teach 14 to 19 year-olds how to deal with stab wounds and bleeding, and how to contact paramedics.

Kiddle said: "We adapt the first aid training and gear it towards the needs of the young people. A lot of the exercises we do touch on behavioural issues, so that people learn about the consequences of their actions and what will happen if they carry certain weapons."

The training has met a positive response, and some attendees have signed up to study for further first aid qualifications.

Kiddle said the success of the programme is due to young people gaining an important sense of achievement. "At school they're seen as being tarnished, but I'm there to deal with specific problems and boost their confidence as much as possible," she said.

Amanda Allchorn, Barclays community manager for London, said the company hoped the scheme would "help to raise the young people's self esteem and re-engage them in educational activity".

FACT FILE

- Project is funded for first year by Barclays' Greater London community team

- Participants were found by publicising the project among London-based youth support bodies

- Training takes place all over London on premises belonging to Youth Offending Teams and Pupil Referral Units

- Some participants have signed up to do further first aid training.

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