To mark National Volunteers’ Week, the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust is celebrating the 600 plus volunteers who help to keep the service running.

The national week which runs from June 3-9 is a chance to recognise and celebrate the UK’s volunteers for their contributions to communities, the voluntary sector, and society.

Operating in both patient and non-patient facing roles across the South West, the trust relies on the contribution of more than 600 community first responders, 35 British Association for Immediate Care doctors and many other volunteers who undertake tasks like moving trust vehicles between sites.

These patient-facing volunteers are instrumental in helping the ambulance service respond to 999 calls and deliver emergency care to patients.

Often, they are the first on the scene, even before an ambulance arrives, and during the last financial year, they responded to more than 22,500 calls across the region.

The trust is also supported by 35 British Association for Immediate Care responders who are experienced pre-hospital doctors who give their time to attend some of the most critically unwell patients in their community.

Jane Whichello, head of volunteering and community services at the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Volunteers’ Week is a great opportunity for all of us to recognise the value of our volunteers and the difference they make to people's lives and their communities.

"I am honoured to lead such a talented and dedicated team here at South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust.

"Our volunteers play such an important role in the service we provide to patients, and I would like to thank every one of them for their support.

"With our team of volunteers at our side, South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust can continue to deliver the very best care possible for patients."

She added: "Volunteering is a great opportunity to meet new people and learn valuable lifesaving skills through the training and ongoing support from the dedicated volunteering support team.

"If you would like to learn more about what you can do to make a difference, why not visit our website and socials to find out more."

Anyone interested in volunteering roles at the trust, including those that require no prior clinical qualifications, can visit the trust's website for more information.

Training, ongoing support, equipment, and a uniform will be provided by the trust, which asks for a minimum commitment of 12 hours per week.