Michael Nicklin was the person who was so enthusiastic about today's venue and with a two course lunch for £2.50 and a round of hot drinks for £1.30, we could see why it's so popular. Janine White is the Chairperson Manager and explained: "We try and stop isolation in the community and benefit the Preston Road area." The community café is really popular and there's a busy programme of activities including family bingo, line-dancing, a pensioners' group and a women's craft afternoon.
|Micheal Nicklin and Chantelle Gowen|
The area is the focus of an ambitious ten year programme of regeneration work, which will soon reach its half-way point. We heard a lot about what the Preston Road Neighbourhood Development Company has achieved so far from Tony Barker, who's looking forward to celebrating the fifth anniversary at a special Big 5 Gig on 7th April.
|Tony Barker visited the Bus|
We also met "Rocket Ron", the man behind the community's First Responder Team. The area has a high rate of heart disease and Ron Wilkinson, a community paramedic, has helped create a team of volunteers who can help when a heart attack threatens. He explained that it's vitally important to act quickly and told us: "Simple things save lives." The idea is to be called out at the same time as a 999 call comes in. The ambulance is mobilised and then the on duty responder is mobilised at the same time. The ambulance can be 20 minutes away and the responder may be only four minutes away.
|"Simple things save lives."|
|Ron Wilkinson, a community paramedic.|
The initiative won a national regeneration award and Ron recently met the prime minister in acknowledgement of the work they've done with the voluntary sector. The team was set up in December 2003 and volunteers like Diane Gallagher have already been called to 280 life-threatening incidents.
Volunteers go on a nationally accredited course and several have gone on to careers in the NHS. Diane explained that there's a lot of satisfaction to be gained from the work: "I feel as if I'm helping people with whatever skills I've got. I can talk to people, communicate and give them a sense of relief in the acknowledgement that they know they're not on their own and someone's there."