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Duchy Health Charity Grants Support for  Ambulance Service Volunteers in Cornwall

The Duchy Health Charity has awarded the South Western Ambulance Charity a £6,315 grant to provide enhanced observation equipment to Community First Responder (CFR) groups across Cornwall.


The funding has been used to purchase equipment which enhances patient assessment and care such as;

  • An automatic blood pressure monitor which is more resilient and robust compared to manual monitoring.  Recordings can be scheduled to ensure regular monitoring.

  • A pulse oximeter which measures oxygen levels in the blood as well as pulse.  Monitoring is continuous ensuring any changes in pulse or oxygen levels are highlighted immediately for appropriate action.


Our Head of Charity, Zoe Larter, says: “Community First Responders (CFRs) are dispatched to thousands of incidents every year, where every second counts - for example when someone isn’t breathing, has chest pains, is unconscious or fitting. Trained and governed by the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT), CFRs are called on any time, day or night, helping to reach those patients most in need.


“SWASFT provides CFRs with a base kit and charitable donations are then used to provide enhanced equipment.  This funding is hugely significant as it is enabling our Charity to raise the baseline of equipment for all CFR volunteers operating across Cornwall.”

SWASFT Emergency Care Assistant (ECA) Shannon Witts explains how valuable the contribution of CFRs is to the ambulance service: “I have been working for the ambulance service for nearly two decades, many of those years spent as a frontline paramedic. On so many occasions I have seen first-hand how valuable the work is of our Community First Responders.

“Whether they are providing lifesaving treatment such as defibrillation to someone in cardiac arrest or comforting a vulnerable elderly person in a frightening situation, they provide stability in a time of crisis and I, amongst all other frontline staff are very grateful and humbled by the volunteer work they do. Having someone in the local community who has been trained in first aid and can reach the patient quickly, can make all the difference.”

The Duchy Health Charity has supported the South Western Ambulance Charity in the past, with a £30,000 grant in 2020 to purchase Raizer Lifting Chairs for CFR groups across Cornwall. Equipping a Community First Responder with an emergency lifting chair enables early assistance to a patient who has experienced a non-injury fall, and reduces potential complications associated with long lies. This also helps ensure the most appropriate allocation of emergency services resources.

Cameron from Bodmin CFR Group

Barbara Vann, Chair of The Duchy Health Charity explains: “The Duchy Health Charity is delighted to be supporting the work of the South Western Ambulance Charity with our input to the work of the Community First Responders benefitting everyone in Cornwall.”

CFRs are trained members of the public who volunteer in their local community by attending emergency calls and providing care ahead of an ambulance's arrival. They attend a wide range of patients, including those experiencing medical emergencies such as a heart attack, stroke or cardiac arrest. Some are also trained to use a Raizer Lifting Chair to help patients who have fallen but not injured themselves.

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If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact us on 0300 3690108 or email

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