Villages and towns across central southern England are benefiting from life-saving equipment for their communities thanks to funding from their electricity distributor, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN).
The Resilient Communities Fund run by SSEN has awarded almost £250,000 in its latest round of funding, with several applicants using the scheme to equip their community with a public access defibrillator.
While the defibrillators carry clear instructions for use, training residents in life-saving techniques such as CPR is also essential in communities, particularly those that are more remote or have the possibility of being affected and cut off by flooding during adverse weather.
Through SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund, the Community Council for Berkshire has been awarded over £1,600 to deliver defibrillator training in the Woolhampton and Beech Hill areas; funding that has enabled over 50 residents to be trained through the British Heart Foundation’s Heartstart courses.
Austin Cobb is Scottish and Southern Electricity Network’s Head of Region covering the Woolhampton and Beech Hill areas. He said: “We’re delighted to have been able to provide the funding that has enabled so many people to learn life-saving skills. The Resilient Communities Fund is there to help communities, rural or urban, to prepare for times when they can be affected by adverse weather than can lead to power cuts or flooding.
“While I hope that these skills never need to be used, I know the reassurance that having life-saving equipment in these villages - and the skills to use it - is priceless, and I hope that we’ll be able to assist even more communities in this way in the very near future.”
Wendy Dacey from the Community Council for Berkshire applied for the funding to run the training courses. She said: “A colleague told me about the Resilient Communities Fund and I thought it would be a good idea to apply for a funding in order to help the volunteers who run village halls across Berkshire.
“Those already with defibrillators can use them with even greater confidence and those who have halls without defibrillators now know how to apply for the funding that can help them purchase and install one. It’s vital that communities learn life-saving skills, so if bad weather strikes and emergency services are delayed in getting access to villages, there are local people who are able to administer CPR, first aid or use a defibrillator and help save a life.”