Emergency medical unit for the homeless in Vannes

The Red Cross is opening a "SAMU social" (emergency medical unit) in Vannes to bolster its night support services for the homeless. There will be at least two patrols weekly to provide support to those who most need it.

Social and Employment

Vannes, Morbihan., France

Yoann Berthelot, Veolia Eau

25, 000 € to the Selection Committee at 2005/05/31
  Project leader Croix-Rouge française

«  This project is very much in keeping with the work of the Red Cross in the Vannes area since it has already set up healthcare, baby care and advice centres.  »

Yoann Berthelot

The French Red Cross was founded by Henry Dunant in 1864, after the battle of Solferino, in Italy. Since then, it has fulfilled its remit of preventing suffering where possible and assisting those most in need. Thanks to the efforts of its 90 million volunteers it has provided invaluable emergency assistance, support and medical care wherever needed both in France and internationally. As our societies develop, the Red Cross has managed to diversify its scope of activity so as to remain faithful to its original calling.
So it is that in Vannes, for instance, Red Cross volunteers go out on night patrols to provide the homeless with food, blankets and even accommodation if possible. This emergency aid supplements the daytime assistance intended to provide those in need with long-term support: preparation of administrative documents (income support, health coverage), health monitoring, identification of centres and hostels appropriate to their needs.

Night patrols with four volunteers

To strengthen its presence even further, in 2005 the organisation's departmental social delegation decided to set up an emergency medical unit as per specifications established by the social action national directorate of the French Red Cross. (Created in 1993 by Dr Xavier Emmanuelli, the Paris "SAMU social" now has 80 regional units, of which 65 are run by the Red Cross.)
In Vannes, the night patrols will go out between 1 November and 30 April, under the authority of the prefecture and the DDASS. A vehicle will patrol at least twice weekly with four volunteers onboard, one of whom will possess an emergency first aid qualification. Alongside the Red Cross, several partners are supporting this project such as the Morbihan prefecture, the DDASS, the CCAS (central social action fund) the municipality of Vannes and 115, the emergency hotline for the homeless. The Veolia Foundation has been asked to provide funding of 25,000 euros to cover the cost of a new vehicle, uniforms for the volunteers, and equipment used in preparing and distributing hot meals.