New charity provides advice and support to ambulance personnel

Lorna Birse-Stewart, Chief Executive of TASC, with Dr Anthony Marsh, Chairman of the AACE.

Lorna Birse-Stewart, Chief Executive of TASC, with Dr Anthony Marsh, Chairman of the AACE.

TASC, The Ambulance Services Charity, has been established as the leading UK charity to provide vital advice and support services to both serving and retired ambulance personnel and their families and dependents in times of difficulty and urgent need.

The charity has already received backing from leading figures in the industry, including Dr Anthony Marsh, Chairman of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE). He was one of 40 guests to join Chairman Cliff Randall and TASC Trustees and staff at the official launch event held at the charity’s new UK Head Office in Coventry.

Other attendees from the sector included Chief Executives and representatives of ambulance trusts from across the UK, including Yorkshire, Wales, the South West, Scotland and the independent ambulance service, as well as paramedics from the West Midlands.

Lorna Birse-Stewart, the charity’s Chief Executive, said it was key for the ambulance services community and the general public to give its backing and support.

“The ambulance services community face a huge number of challenges and demands on a daily basis with over 10 million 999 calls made to the ambulance services each year,” she said. “There are around 70,000 people working in the UK ambulance services across a wide range of sectors whether it be front line emergency services, call handling centres, patient transport or other areas of service.

“They are extremely committed and dedicated professionals, with each making an invaluable contribution to society, and all deserving of our support.

“There’s a great deal that goes on behind the scenes and it is important that this incredible band of professionals and their families are supported at their time of need, whether this is through providing rehabilitation services, access to counselling support, mental health services or offering debt and welfare advice.

“TASC is now well-placed to support ambulance personnel and their families providing access to confidential, impartial and independent support through both an 0800 TASC Support line and a dedicated team of professional staff based at the headquarters.

“But in order for us to deliver these vital services we need the backing and support of not just the Ambulance Services Community but also the general public and other donors.”

TASC has been formed through the merger of a number of funds including The Ambulance Services Benevolent Fund (ASBF), Amcare and The Beds and Herts Ambulance Benevolent Fund and will take forward the valuable work undertaken by ASBF since it was formed in 1986.

Dr Anthony Marsh, Chairman of the AACE and a Trustee at the charity, added, “It‘s really important that our ambulance staff, who work extremely hard and often in very difficult circumstances, know that we are doing everything we can as an ambulance service to support them and their families should they incur difficulties while at work or off duty.

“I am confident that The Ambulance Services Charity will be able to build on the legacy of the previous Ambulance Service Benevolent Fund and create something we can all be proud of. We want the charity to succeed so that we can provide the very best support and the very best care for all of our staff.

“We welcome the range of high-level support the charity will provide but at the same time we are not complacent, we want to be really ambitious.

“My ambitions as a Chief Officer and also as a Trustee of the charity is for TASC to be an outstanding organisation and therefore hope to see the range of services expanded as we move forward, so they continue to support and address the needs of the ambulance services community.”