Eslin Community First Responders Group went live on September 21, 2019. The group is made up of 12 volunteers.
Member Siobhan Walsh explains “We are a dynamic mix of people, made up of health professionals and people from varied professions, ordinary mams and dads in the community. We undertook training with the National Ambulance Service lasting a half-day, which did inspire in the group a desire to add value and real values. Since that date, the group have had 16 calls.
“I have personal experience of being on the receiver’s end of support in a crisis situation. Tim and I moved to Leitrim and got married in EslinBridge in December 2002. 10 months later when my parents were visiting for a weekend, my father died suddenly in our home of a heart attack just before 8am on a Sunday morning.
“My husband Tim performed CPR while I phoned the ambulance. The ambulance came as quickly as they could and when they did, my Dad had already passed. Our dear neighbours came to support us and their presence was so crucial to us at that traumatic time. This experience of shock, loss and grief is one that took us years to come to terms with.
“It has left us with a positive legacy however which is a strong sense of identity for people who have this shared experience, and, empathy for people in grief or in difficulty.
“When my neighbour and friend Katrina Sheerin told me about the initiative to start the Community First Responders Group, I was interested but also hesitant about joining. I feared I would be inadequate at making a meaningful contribution in a crisis situation like this.
“I initially joined to assist with administration and treasury. Having spent time in the group and having completed the training, my confidence is growing. I will stress though it is very much a work in progress!
“Our group meets on the first Monday of every month. We do training and discuss practical issues about the calls, fundraising and plans for the group. Everyone is engaged and fully invested.
“ I am proud of our group and what we have achieved in such a short time. I am also optimistic about what we can deliver in terms of support to our community. Our service touches a lot of people and one never know what the future holds. What the Community First Responders Group do is important, meaningful and relevant.
“It’s just gone two weeks into the New Year of 2020 and your new year resolutions may be on the wain. So consider joining our group. We need you!
“To fundraise, we are doing a Fun Run or Walk on Sunday, January 19 at 12pm, starting at Eslin Community Centre with refreshments afterwards in the centre. It is a fun way to raise much needed funds while also blowing away the cobwebs.
“If you are interesting in learning more, the event will be a great opportunity to meet the roup members and ask questions. You are very welcome!”