Lessons in lifesaving for group of Leeds dads

Claire Deverill with class participant Lee Watson
Claire Deverill with class participant Lee Watson
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It’s a weekday evening and a group of dads have gathered at a soft play centre – not to entertain their kids, but to learn how to potentially save their lives.

They are taking part in a special class organised by Mini First Aid, a Leeds-based firm which runs first aid classes for parents and carers.

In just two hours, participants can learn all the vital basic skills they need in an emergency situation.

That includes how to do CPR, deal with choking, bleeding, burns and the signs of serious illnesses like meningitis.

Mini First Aid was set up by Leeds mum Kate Ball, who launched the business in 2014 and now has franchisees working across Yorkshire and in Devon, Bristol and Somerset.

Classes are run in small groups, either for people to sign up to or for groups of friends to book as a private session.

Claire Deverill, Mini First Aid trainer for north Leeds and mum-of-three, had noticed that mums made up the vast majority of those attending.

“In Leeds dads only make up about 20 per cent of participants,” she said.

“Dads often come with their partners or mums come on their own, but very rarely do dads come on their own.”

With many mums who do the courses saying they then wanted their child’s dad to also learn the skills, Claire said they decided to offer a dads-only class.

The session, at Tiny Toes in Horsforth, was fully booked with men wanting to ensure they would know what to do if their child was taken ill or injured.

Among the skills they learned were how to do CPR specifically for a baby or child, practicing on mannequins, as well as the contents of a first aid kit and how to use them.

Claire said it was a great success and since the course, other dads have signed up for general classes.

More dads-only sessions could be an option in future, while Mini First Aid is also starting to offer corporate classes to employees, running during lunch breaks.

“We are hopeful that a few more parents who can’t make the classes outside office times might be able to come,” added Claire.

James Hart, from Alwoodley, was one of the participants at the fathers-only class.

The dad to three-and-a-half-year-old Oscar wanted to brush up his first aid skills, as he had previously done a course because he runs Rugby Tots classes.

James said: “I thought it was absolutely brilliant.

“The class was informal but really informative, Claire got all the points across and answered all our questions.

“You hope you’ll never have to use these skills but it’s so important to have them.”

* Log on to www.minifirstaid.co.uk.

Dean Johnstone, chief executive of Minds Ahead and joint leader of the centre of excellence in Leeds.

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