South Downs doctor on mission to teach UK schoolchildren how to save lives

An appeal for help has gone out from a South Downs doctor who is on a mission to teach life-saving skills to schoolchildren throughout Britain.

Dr Barbara Stanley, who lives in Ashington, founded a charity known as Little LifeSavers which sends doctors and trained volunteers into both primary and secondary schools to teach children CPR.

“It came about because I organised two ‘meet the doctors’ sessions locally in Ashington,” she said.

“One of the children who came with his mother was shown some BSL (basic life support) by one of my colleagues and told his headteacher about it and how useful it was.

Little Lifesavers aims to teach all schoolchildren how to save a life

“His mother - who was my daughter’s swimming teacher - got in touch and asked if I’d organise a session for his school - West Chiltington Primary - which my colleagues were happy to do.

“So I wrote the teaching model of Little LifeSavers and that’s where the idea came from.”

That was back in 2016 when Barbara, who qualified as a doctor from UCL in 2000, was working as a consultant anaesthetist at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals.

Little LifeSavers has grown steadily ever since - teaching CPR and the management of choking to schoolchildren for free. More than 8,000 youngsters have been taught so far.

Teaching children how to do CPR

Now more volunteers are wanted throughout the UK to create a #NationOfLifesavers.

“We need volunteers to teach our free BASIC CPR sessions to schoolchildren in Year 5 and 6 of Primary school, and Year 7 and 8 of Secondary school,” said Barbara, whose husband is an intensive care consultant at Worthing Hospital.

“It is an enormous task to teach all the children we want to as there are approximately 3.7 million children in 28,000 schools within our targeted range, so we need a lot of volunteers.

“If each school had a small pool of volunteers that were willing to teach every two months or so, we would achieve our vision and create a nation of Little LifeSavers!

“Our volunteering opportunity is open to every adult in the UK. We train and support all our volunteers and provide both the equipment to teach the skills and administer the booking of sessions.

“All you need do is learn the four simple skills of our teaching model and tell us when you can teach.

“Teaching is term time and only in schools.”

Mum-of-two Barbara added: “Many organisations teach first aid and CPR as formal qualifications but as far as we are aware no organisation is attempting to deliver practical sessions to every school in the UK for free.

“By recruiting adults to volunteer with us as instructors, they get to practise these basic skills through teaching them in their local schools, which means we equip both adults and children to save lives.

“Current survival from cardiac arrest in the UK stands at 10 per cent.

“We believe everyone can learn simple CPR and so we are creating a nation of Life Savers.”

Anyone who wants to know more about becoming a Little LifeSavers Volunteer Instructor can email [email protected]