Taking Medicine to the streets

353. Emma Ridings (Manchester)

Manchester University Medical student Emma Ridings, 24, got involved with StreetDoctors, a national charity tackling youth violence, in 2013. She joined because of her passion for teaching others, and her interest in working with disadvantaged young people.

StreetDoctors, founded in 2008, is a national network of medical student volunteers who teach young people at greatest risk of violence the skills they need to deliver life-saving first aid. Violence is the third leading cause of mortality in young people in Europe. Many of these deaths happen because those present at the scene panic, don’t know what to do and don’t call for help. StreetDoctors uses first aid as a tool to educate and empower young people, encouraging them to take responsibility and to see themselves as potential lifesavers.

Emma became leader of the Manchester branch in 2014 – and with a team of 15 fellow students runs regular sessions to teach young people in the Manchester area. She volunteers up to 20 hours per week for StreetDoctors as well as being in her fourth year of medical school.

She is passionate about StreetDoctors and her and the Manchester team have raised over £5,000 in the last year through events and sponsorship. She has created a number of new fundraising events, including a football tournament in collaboration with Manchester City Football Club and Didsbury Toc H Rugby Club, a post-exams Club Night, and an Acoustic Night, all of which have been a huge success, drawing in over 500 people.

Regardless of whether it’s a doctor restoring local monuments in her free time, a father teaching young people life skills, or a local musician giving a voice to lonely people, the Point of Light award honours shining examples of volunteering across the UK.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Emma’s work has touched the lives of so many young people, giving them vital skills that may save lives. By taking her medical knowledge out on the streets of Manchester and highlighting the medical consequences of violence she is educating and equipping young people to help themselves and others stay safe. I’m delighted to recognise her service with the UK’s 353rd Points of Light award.”

Emma said:

“I am absolutely thrilled to receive the Points of Light award. It has been a privilege to work for such an amazing charity over the past 2 years and I have loved every moment of it! Working with such a dedicated group of people committed to eradicating youth violence is inspiring and the efforts of all the StreetDoctors volunteers and HQ deserves to be recognised.”

The Chief Executive Officer of StreetDoctors, Jo Broadwood, said:

“Emma is a fantastic volunteer, a brilliant fundraiser and a great teacher. She is passionate about StreetDoctors and, like all our amazing volunteers, utterly committed to ensuring that young people who are at greatest risk of violence have the skills, knowledge and confidence to act if they find themselves at the scene of a violent injury or in a medical emergency. Her drive and determination as the Manchester team leader over the last year has been an inspiration to others.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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