Doncaster children are learning life skills, leadership and how to save lives

St John Ambulance is urging Doncaster parents to encourage their children to join the first aid charity’s badger and cadet units – and for adults to volunteer to support them.

A “Badger Bistro” event is to be held in Edlington at the Miners Welfare Ground on Monday March 25 from 6pm to 7pm, at which families will be served tea, juice and cake and shown how children benefit from taking part.

Maisie Smith, age eight, of Edlington, has become a Badger Buddy to welcome new badgers

Maisie Smith, age eight, of Edlington, has become a Badger Buddy to welcome new badgers

St John Ambulance badger units welcome children aged seven to 10 while its cadet units are for 11 to 17-year-olds.

The Edlington badgers meet from 5.30pm to 6.30pm each Monday and take part in a range of fun activities, working towards their Super Badger Award, which includes badges such as First Aid Badger and ECO Badger.

Volunteer unit leader Julie Slyde said: “Our badgers really enjoy learning first aid but that’s not all they do. We do lots of fun things, like arts and crafts and team games. They learn many important life skills such as leadership and get an early introduction to what it’s like to be an active part of a community.”

Maisie Smith, aged eight, who attends Hill Top Academy school, joined the badger “sett” last year and has gained so much confidence she is now a “badger buddy” who helps newcomers to settle in.

Her father, Andrew Smith, said: “We’re very happy that Maisie joined Edlington Badgers as it enables her to learn first aid and also interact which other children. Since joining, she has become more confident individually and around other people.” 

The charity’s expansion of its work with young people across England is thanks to a £560k grant from the Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) distributed via the Youth United Foundation (YUF).

As part of the campaign, St John Ambulance is also appealing for adults interested in working with young people to volunteer to support its youth teams in South Yorkshire, after a unit in Thorne had to be suspended due to a lack of leaders.

St John Ambulance’s Director of Youth and Volunteering, Mark Farmer said: “We’re delighted to be able to make this significant investment in the future of our charity and the health of our nation.

“Many of the young people we work with progress to voluntary roles with St John Ambulance as adults, or find work as key members of vital health and care teams up and down the country, including the NHS.

“They often do both but in every case these amazing young people make a real difference to the communities they serve.

“I hope that we find some inspiring new volunteers in South Yorkshire to help them fulfil their potential, as well as developing their own skills as part of our brilliant youth team.”

To find out more about becoming a youth team member, cadet or badger with a St John Ambulance unit in South Yorkshire, visit: www.sja.org.uk/sja/young-people, call 0121 392 6500 or email Edlington unit manager Julie.Slyde@sja.org.uk