First aid workshop for rough sleepers in Ipswich is well-received by attendees

17 January 2019

Suffolk adult community learning provider Realise Futures has designed and delivered a first aid course to support rough sleepers in Ipswich.

The first part of the workshop was held last week on Thursday at Pemberton House Learning Centre in Curriers Lane, and it will be followed up with a second part on January 24.

The course, which was put together on behalf of Ipswich Housing Action Group (IHAG), covers not only first aid on others, such as how to carry CRP, but also first aid skills to enable rough sleepers to keep safe when managing a first aid incident.

Areas being covered include how to recognise whether a person is breathing/not breathing (primary survey), the recovery position, epilepsy, stroke, low blood sugar, burns, head injury, hypothermia and heat conditions, cuts, what to do in the first instance with needle stick injuries, and recognising infections, such as sepsis.

As well as topics attendees themselves ask the tutor to cover, the course looks as challenges facing rough sleepers, such as not having access to first aid equipment, access to a mobile phone, or knowing where to find first aid supplies.

Also, having confidence to ask passers-by or going in a shop to ask for help, knowing what services can help, such as IHAG, and getting access to water especially for burns and cleaning a wound if needed and having clean items to protect a wound if there is no access to bandages.

Sarah Parkinson from IHAG said: "Sleeping rough is unpleasant, dangerous and hard, especially in extreme weather. We wanted the course to be tailored to the needs of people sleeping on the streets who may not have easy access to bandages, water and other aids which are usually available for people who are housed.

“Help our Homeless in Ipswich was keen to give homeless people the opportunity to take part in some first aid training which would give them the skills and knowledge to address medical emergencies and situations they encounter while they are out and about.” 

Realise Futures Learning and Development Skills for Work Manager, Imani Sorhaindo, said: “Our learners who attended the workshop last week said they enjoyed the course and they are coming back for the second part. We will also welcome new learners on the second part, too.”

Workshop attendee Brian Bush said he had found the workshop useful and informative. “I’ve learned a lot from being here on the course; a lot of it is very practical.”

According to the charity Shelter, one in every 200 people in Britain are homeless and sleeping on the streets or stuck in temporary accommodation, including hostels and B&Bs.https://england.shelter.org.uk/media/press_releases/articles/320,000_people_in_britain_are_now_homeless,_as_numbers_keep_rising