AROUND 500 more lifesavers will be walking the streets of Taunton thanks to the launch of a first aid training centre.

The St John Ambulance has been inundated with people wanting to learn first aid, prompting the decision to set up the facility.

The centre, at Exchange House in The Crescent, will join the charity’s existing facility in Canon Street and courses start later this month.

The extra capacity means around 500 more people could learn how to be the difference between a life lost and a life saved in 2014.

John Cavanagh, regional director of the charity’s Com-mercial Training Division, said 729 people in Taunton were trained in 2013.

He said: “We’re looking at a two-thirds increase, alongside the hundreds of people who learn lifesaving skills through our local youth groups and other voluntary activities, which are supported by income from the courses we run, but there’s much more to be done.

“Our research shows fewer than one in five people know basic first aid and 59% of employees want this kind of training.

“The demand for courses in Somerset is very high and we’ve made sure this extra venue is in the heart of Taun-ton, close to car parks and public transport links so it’s accessible to as many people as possible.”

Under the latest Health & Safety Executive regulations businesses must have a selected first aid trainer in order to carry out a needs assessment in their workplace.

To enrol on a course, call 0844-7704800 or visit