A group of people supported by homelessness charity Emmaus Bolton have been given the knowledge and skills to save lives thanks to a first aid and defibrillator training course.  


On Thursday 26 August, 18 members of the Emmaus Bolton community received training by qualified first aid instructor Peter Blunsdon, with medical education equipment loaned by ABC North West Training. Emmaus Bolton supports formerly homeless people by providing a stable home, meaningful work, and support for as long as they need it. 


One of the trainees, James, aged 33, started living at Emmaus Bolton two years ago, after he became separated from his family. He helps the charity collect donations and deliver new and secondhand goods as one of Emmaus Bolton’s van drivers. 


Adding to his past first aid qualifications, the former security guard, said: “During my jobs on the doors I’ve been stabbed, bottled, dealt with attempted rape, people who have been raped, domestic violence and been shot at. I’ve experienced trying to save the life of someone and I’ve helped people passing away in my arms that are dying. 


“Everyone should be trained how to use a defibrillator from when they’re in school. I have close experience of people with heart conditions who have sadly passed away and I know people with heart conditions who worry when they’re out. Now we’re trained, we can help. 


“There is a stigma towards people who are homeless. People think we have got ourselves in this situation because we know nothing, but attitudes have to change. Helping others is what we’re about, and Emmaus Bolton is here to help if you want to push through.” 


Emmaus Bolton has recently received a new on-site defibrillator and were keen that everyone supported by the charity has the skills and confidence to be able to use the machine correctly if needed. 


Director Tony Stephenson said: “We have lots of people living here, volunteers and customers who are in high-risk categories, so we made the decision to buy our own defibrillator machine.  


“While it’s not something we ever want to use, we recognise the importance of having a defibrillator here on site not just for ourselves, but for any first responder to use. It is registered with the North West Ambulance Service, to access during the working day or out of hours.” 



Director Tony Stephenson with the new defibrillator available around the clock for use by the wider community
Companions learning first aid under qualified instructor Peter Blunsden