ALTON Foodbank manager John Jacobs will be travelling to Syrian refugee camps in the Beqaa valley in Lebanon this month to teach first-aid skills to refugees and volunteers.

Mr Jacobs, who is a qualified first-aid instructor and a community first responder with South Central Ambulance Service, has previously completed two trips to the Greek island of Lesvos (Lesbos) where he was involved in providing technical and medical aid to Syrian refugees.

On the second trip he had the privilege of working with a British GP, Hadia Aslam, who had set up the Health Point Foundation outside the refugee camp at Moria. It was through ongoing contact with Dr Aslam that he was invited to visit the camps in Lebanon, where there are many thousands of people who have had to leave their homes and businesses to flee the civil war.

Mr Jacobs said: “The plight of the Syrian refugees has touched a deep chord in me.

“As a committed Christian, I felt that I had to make a loving response to people who had been driven from homes, jobs and sometimes their families to escape the civil war in their country. Like many people, I was troubled by the pictures of overcrowded, flimsy boats making the crossing from Turkey to Lesvos.”

And he added: “For the last eight years of my working life I was self-employed as a consultant to humanitarian aid agencies. Part of that work was training aid workers in personal security, first aid and radio communication.

“That meant I was in the position of having both the needed skills and the ability to regulate my own time.”

In Lebanon, Mr Jacobs will be working with Sawa for Development and Aid.

Sawa for Development and Aid started in 2011 as a youth initiative but has since developed into a non-profit organisation, not only providing relief but also in projects that help individuals transform from passive beneficiaries to active independent members of society.