South East Coast Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust, (SECAmb), welcomed more than 200 of its volunteers as it hosted its first-ever volunteers’ conference.

The conference, held at East Sussex National Hotel and Conference Centre near Uckfield on Saturday, (18 November), recognised and celebrated the contribution of SECAmb’s volunteers and provided a networking opportunity for colleagues.

SECAmb benefits from the commitment approximately 400 volunteers across a variety of roles including Community First Responders, Chaplains, Welfare Volunteers and Governors.

Guest speakers at the conference included Helen Vine, the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE) National Volunteer Lead for Ambulance Services and the author of the National Ambulance Volunteering Strategy.

The Trust was also pleased to welcome external speakers from North West Ambulance Service, East Midlands Ambulance Service and the British Heart Foundation.

Attendees also heard from cardiac arrest survivor, Graham Chaston from East Sussex and SECAmb CFR, Mark Walder. Graham’s life was saved in 2021 by prompt treatment from CFR Mark.

Head of Community Resilience at SECAmb David Wells said: “This was the first conference of this scale we have held for volunteers and it was a real success. We were able to explore topics including the benefit and vital role volunteers bring to both patient care and their staff colleagues and how want to continue to expand the role of volunteers within SECAmb.

“We are extremely grateful for the commitment and dedication of our fantastic team of volunteers, be they Community First Responders, Chaplains, Governors or providing Welfare Support. I’m delighted that we are able to celebrate their contribution in this way and thank each and every one of them for their ongoing support.”

SECAmb would like to thank UK defibrillator supplier, Wel Medical, for providing sponsorship towards the cost of the conference.

Anyone interested in volunteering roles with SECAmb including finding out more about becoming a Community First Responder can visit Join Us – NHS South East Coast Ambulance Service (

Applications for Community First Responders open throughout the year and applications can be made via NHS Jobs.