Discrimination - volunteering with a caring organisation???

I think I know now what it is like to be discriminated, job wise, against with my asthma!

I have over the last 8-9 years done Radio Communications for St John Ambulance, voluntarily on large duties such as V pop concerts and Airshows etc. I have had a few problems with my asthma during some of these, the last being last year at V.

The person in charge now has decided it that I can't do the duties because there is a chance that it may happen again! (It has happened twice it the last 3-4 years!) The last time I was actually in A&E directly for my asthma was last August (After V !) I would like to continue volunteering for Radio comms but am I being unreasonable?? I don't go if I have been unwell etc. I haven't been really ill with my asthma (ie in hospital) this year!

What do people think??

I know I could be a liability, and should be there caring for others and my collegues should be caring for others too and not picking me up. I do a job that frees up other more able members to do the first aid! There are other incidents of other St John Members being ill on duty.

Kate

16 Replies

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  • Hi Kate, Sorry you are having a rough time. I do first aid with St Andrews Ambulance at events. I cant believe they are being like this to you, especially when you have dedicated so much of your time to helping others. I would have thought Comms was the best job as it doesnt involve running about to casualties. Knowing you as well as I do, I know that you are responsible and that you would not go to a first aid duty if you were unwell and that you certainly wouldnt expect others to be responsible for you.

    So sorry. You would think they would appreciate their volunteers much more.

    Keep your chin up. Louisa

  • Thanks Karly,

    I have been a volunteer for 25 years since joining as a cadet!

    I accepted that I can't do the active first aid side of things so stick to County youth team admin and also the Radio Coms... until now!

    will keep you updated,

    Kate

    xXX

  • Kate if this officer persists with the ridiculous idea that u are unable to do your job then u MUST take it higher , U are a sensible,responsible capable member who knows their limits and sticks to them so should not have tp put up withthis kind of thing.

    I know if it was to happen to me within guiding i would kick up a stink. At meetings i always have more adults required than needed incase im unable to continue therefore i cover my back. So do u by not doing duties if unable and purely by the fact that u arent doing front line work.

    Stay strong and hold your own they have no right to to do this to you.

  • kate

    By now they should know you well enough to know how responsible you are.

    I personally would want to know what was behind the decision. Things like this dont normally come out the blue.

    I wonder if someone has compalined that you dont come over clear enough in coms or that they are worried about your reliability. I am not saying this is right but we all know how others can perceive people who have an illness especially when they dont understand it.

  • Many thanks all for the support,

    The comms manager who also recieved the e-mail (cc) was horrified! He rang me earlier this evening. It will be sorted tommorrow night - i have a lot of support from other people. I know who made the decision but not sure who made it with him if anyone else! There has been mutterings before about my asthma, from the same person, but with a little backing from elsewhere. I only do a limited number of hours and often go home before the end of the duty to avoid risks such as damp & pollen in the evenings or smoke from steam engines chugging up the road etc.

    I will try to keep it within county but will take it up with national HQ if I need to.

    I accepted some years ago that I can't do front line work ( would anyone if they have to cope with loads of puking pop fans high on all sorts etc?? LOL) but was found another Niche within the organisation.

    If there has been a complaint, I will find out who, although, I think it is said person who wrote e-mail who has decided. I have never had a problem with people understanding me - usually the other way round! ( waffling, shouting into the mike , bad radio protocol etc) I often get left on my own on some duties in the unit to look after 2 channels for short periods too!

    Got a meeting tommorrow night to sort it - or fur will fly! ( Gordon the Gopher will get his teeth out - he is my / the radio comms mascot)

    I am so fed up of having to justify, argue, contest things to prove that I am a capable person - why can't people see us for our qualities and not the crappy lungs.

    Anyway,

    Am shattered now,

    Can anyone help with a cadet with ADHD!!! ( apart from putting them at the botom of the food chain - was teaching conservation tonight! LOL)

    sorry for all the waffle, will write some notes for my defence!

    Night all

    Kate

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  • just read

    Im glad things are getting sorted you shouldn't be treated like tht it is being discriminated aginst and they could seriously get done for being like that, if things go badly on yor meeting if i was you i would get publicity so people are more aware it is wrong to be treated like that.

  • Kate, this is awful I hope you get things sorts I wish you were at Football matches the St John people hate me inisiting I sit into my seat on the other-side of the ground and up 16 steps, trying to explain I am OK this is what you do if you I am not takes 20 minutes each game. I would have thought the hassle of training someone else would far outweigh the minor risk you impose.

    Bex

  • Good luck for later on Kate !!!!!!!!!!!

  • Well I belong to St John ambulance and have had no problems with my county I work on the front line ambulance and do first aid never had a problem with them. sorry to here that you have

  • Helloooo!

    Sharon, I used to work front line but due to the severity of my asthma (I am brittle asthmatic - chronic & acute) I am unable to do front line first aid - I can't physically do it! Anyway, I was found other work at county level doing Radio Coms control (and also county youth team work). The Radio comms work is in the balance at the mo! We do have asthmatics working front line etc and some of my collegues are asthmatic.

    At the meeting, the other people who found out via e-mail were shocked and upset too! The person who sent it stood his ground although we (the good guys) are working on a compromise! I have been offered other less big duties ( V was 60-80,000 crowd capacity, Southend, can be 250,000!) and also ones with better access to my car for a quick get away. I hope to help teach radio coms and help with software development etc which is good.

    I did explain that I have been overall more stable the last 9 months or so!

    I have left things to cool off for a bit then I may write one of my letters!

    ( I usually argue my case very well!!!!!)

    I prefer at the moment to keep it all 'in house' but I do have access to independent advisors through SJA.

    Anyway, I am not going to get too stressed about it!

    Thanks

    Kate

  • Hi Kate,

    Just read what happened to you and the meeting

    Can’t add anymore to what has already been said about the discrimination. But I’m sure you will sort them all out in the end!

    You could try some of these tips for teaching an ADHDstudent.

    It does help to have something in the hands to fidget with like playdough or blue tak. Anything that is quiet! By occupying the physical impulses, the brain works better and can concentrate, preferably on what you are saying!

    Give him/her some physical responsible task to do. Could be putting away your resources, collecting work, anything that allow the person to physically move around every now and again.

    Many ADHD students are kinaesthetic learners. In other words they learn best by doing practical activities. Try and incorporate lots of practical activities within your teaching.

    It might be easier to sort out the discriminatory bods that your ADHD student though!

    Mia

    xxx

  • Thanks Mia,

    I did discover that he had been fiddling with a plastic straw .... when it sprung out of his mouth! Yuck!

    Will try something else and hope he doesn't stick it in his mouth too!

    Kate

    XXX

  • Thanks!

    Thanks everyone for your support.

    I am looking into the DDA act to see if I can find any ammunition!

    Will keep you updated as well.

    Kate

    XXX

  • Helloooo!

    Things seemed to have settled down a bit - I am still putting together a letter but what I am most upset / annoyed about is the way it was handled - eg initial contact by e-mail! And also what was said at the meeting.

    The whole issue could have been handled more sensitively.

    Thanks

    Kate

    XXX

  • st john ambulance

    I WAS ON DUTY ONCE WITH THE THE RED CROSS I HAD AN ASTHMA ATTACK ONCE ON DUTY AND WAS TOLD UNLESS I COULD KEEP MY ASTHMA UNDER CONTROL I WAS NOT ALLOWED ON DUTY AGAIN, AS I WOULD BE A DANGER TO OTHER PEOPLE/OTHER RED CROSS MEMBERS.

    I WAS NOT THE ONLY ASTHMA SUFFERER IN OUR CENTRE, 2 OTHERS HAD ASTHMA ASWELL.

    LUCY.

  • Kate WRITE that letter and POST it hun !!

    Just cause you volunteer doesnt make discrimnation any less of a problem !!

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