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Volunteers prepare for 'double Black Friday'

16th December 2016

Volunteers from St John Cymru Wales will be out in force over the festive season, making sure Christmas revellers stay safe on not one, but two ‘Black Fridays’.

The volunteers will staff ‘Help Points’ or ‘Alcohol Treatment Centres’ (ATCs) across Wales, working in partnership with the Police and the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust (WAST).

The last Friday before Christmas is commonly referred to as ‘Black Friday’ or ‘Bleak Friday’ – due to the amount of people out celebrating, leading to one of the busiest nights of the year for the emergency services. This year, however, the Friday falls just two days before Christmas Day, so the 23 and the 16 December are expected to be exceptionally busy.

The Help Points are an innovative response to the demand placed on the Welsh Ambulance Service, the Police, Emergency Departments and Local Health Boards. They successfully divert patients away from A&E, allowing those who need urgent medical attention in hospital to be treated quickly.

The Help Point in Swansea, behind Wind Street, is expecting to see a high influx of patients during the festivities. There will be additional ATCs set up in Llanelli, Carmarthen, Gwent and North Wales with volunteers also supporting activities in Cardiff city centre.

The most common complaints from previous years have been intoxication, head wounds and cuts. Of those, only a small percentage needed further hospital treatment, saving hours of treatment time at A&E.

The Help Points will also be in operation on New Year’s Eve to help people who find themselves in a vulnerable state while celebrating the New Year.

Two of our volunteers will also be present in the WAST control rooms for the first time in Cwmbran and Carmarthen to co-ordinate activity alongside the senior WAST management.

James Shaughnessy, Director of Operations at St John Cymru Wales said: “We have a team of highly-trained first aiders who will be volunteering their services to support anyone who requires first aid at Help Points all over Wales during this busy period.”

“Having treatment points like these available means people can be seen quickly and effectively. These initiatives would not be able to operate without the dedication of our volunteers, who give up their time to help others, and ultimately save lives.”

St John Cymru Wales also supports the Welsh Ambulance Service during times of extreme weather. The first aid charity has more than 100 ambulances across Wales, including 4x4 vehicles, should severe weather affect the emergency services.

St John Cymru Wales volunteers will be working in partnership with the Police and Ambulance Service at Help Points/Triage Centres on the following dates:

Swansea Help Point, Strand Car Park (Behind Wind St), Swansea - From – 10:00pm-04:00am
Friday 16 December 2016
Saturday 17 December 2016
Friday 23 December 2016
Monday 26 December 2016
Saturday 31 December 2016 

Llanelli, (St John Llanelli Division), Heol Goffa, Llanelli – From 8:30pm–04:00am
Friday 16 December
Friday 23 December
Monday 26 December
Saturday 31 December

Carmarthen, (St John Carmarthen Division), St John Carpark, Francis Terrace, Carmarthen – From 8.30pm-04:00am
Friday 16 December
Friday 23 December
Monday 26 December
Saturday 31 December 

Gwent, Llanarth House, Newbridge Gateway, Bridge Street, Newbridge - Times TBC but likely to be from 9:00pm-04:00am
Friday 23 December
Saturday 31 December 

North Wales – Times TBC
Bangor - TBC
Caernarfon - TBC
Mold – 16 and 24 December
Deeside – 23 and 31 December


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St John Cymru Wales
Priory House,
Beignon Close,
Ocean Way,
Cardiff
CF24 5PB

Charity number 250523
Company number 5071073
Registered in England & Wales
029 2044 9629
029 2044 9639
029 2044 9600
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