TASC, The Ambulance Staff Charity, is continuing to see an increase in the number of referrals and applications for assistance for the range of services it provides.
Over the last two years since TASC was officially launched it has provided vital and confidential help and support to around 280 past and present members of the ambulance services community.
Overall, the demand for services, which includes both physical and psychological rehabilitation, bereavement and welfare services, and financial support, including debt advice, has more than doubled in the past year.
But in some areas of the country the referrals, which include individual applications, have actually trebled, including those from South Western Ambulance Service Trust which saw an increase in the number of cases from 12 in 2015 to 39 last year. At the same time, East of England Ambulance Service saw its referrals and applications increase from just five to 16 over the same period, while East Midlands had a similar rise, from six to 15.
South Western Ambulance, which has also added a further 16 referrals in the first quarter of this year, is the largest beneficiary of TASC’s services with a total of 67 cases over the course of the last two years since TASC launched in 2015.
A third of the South Western cases received financial support amounting to around £11,500 in total, while the referrals were due to a wide range of issues including debt management, physical injury, mental health issues, housing needs, and financial hardship owing to disability and care responsibilities, or ill health and bereavement.
As in all referrals or individual applications to TASC, not all cases are awarded financial support but all are given advice and support together with information about welfare benefits where appropriate.
A breakdown of all referrals to TASC, which totalled 76 in 2015, 148 in 2016, and 65 during the first four months of this year, reveals that two thirds (67 per cent) of cases are from working ambulance staff, while the remaining third (33 per cent) have either retired or left the service. A gender split reveals 62 per cent of referrals are male and 38 per cent female.
A spokesperson for TASC said:
“Every application we receive goes through the same process to ensure that each one is assessed fairly, independently and confidentially. TASC is proud of its independence and we are passionate about supporting those within the ambulance services community in real need. We are pleased that we have been able to provide support to so many more people than this time last year, but we also know that there is still so much more to be done. That is why we need more generous support from within the ambulance community so we can help even more ambulance staff past and present and their families.”
The majority of referrals have come from the ambulance trusts themselves, but some individuals contact TASC directly either after speaking to colleagues or seeing information about the charity around the regions.
As well as direct financial support, TASC is also able to approach other charities, trusts or organisations for additional help or grants on behalf of its beneficiaries, where appropriate.Learn more about our services