Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Crossmaglen First Responders nominated for Shining Light Award

The Crossmaglen and District Community First Responders (CDCFR) team are delighted to have been nominated for a Shining Light Award in this year’s Community Volunteering Awards, which take place this Friday 2nd June.

The ‘Shining Light’ Awards were established by the Confederation of Community Groups (CCG) in memory of Patricia Graham, a dedicated member of the CCG who sadly passed away in 2009. They acknowledge and celebrate the commitment and dedication of organisations and individuals to community life throughout the district.

Speaking to The Examiner about the nomination, CDCFR Chairperson Aoibheann Byrne said the group were “extremely honoured” to have been nominated in the Community Services category of the awards alongside such worthy organisations as the renowned Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust.

“We are delighted to be nominated for such an accolade,” said Aoibheann.

“It’s great for the group as a whole and for us as individuals to be recognised for the work being done in Crossmaglen and the surrounding areas.

“We feel it’s irrelevant whether we win the award or not as the nomination itself is a fantastic accolade for us.”

Aoibheann revealed the group has grown since the First Responders initiative was first launched in November 2015 and negotiations are underway with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service to expand and extend the area that is covered by the team. Currently, First Responders are  dispatched to emergency calls throughout Crossmaglen, Culloville, Creggan, Glassdrummond, Silverbridge and Cullyhanna,  providing treatment to those in need of emergency medical assistance as they await the arrival of appropriate emergency services.

In rural areas the existence of such an initiative can mean the difference between life and death, given the inadequate ambulance response times throughout the district, and the scheme has been heralded as a vital lifeline for health services in south Armagh.

New training dates for volunteers are set for this coming September and the CDCFR welcome interest from any prospective volunteers who feel they would like to become part of the First Responders Team.

The Shining Light Awards ceremony will take place in the Canal Court Hotel, Newry this Friday 2nd June as part of Celebrating Volunteers Week in the area.