Christmas time again and the New Year will soon be here. We thought this would be an appropriate time to have a review not only of the last year but what we have achieved sine we started.
Starting simple, here are a few facts about us:
- We are 20 months having been established in May 2013.
- Our first training session was 3rd August 2013.
- We have had 166 people pass the course.
- We have organised 21 sessions.
- We have taken part in Thatcham Festival.
- We have worked with Thatcham Town Council and Newbury Town Council to put on training sessions.
- Our largest session had 18 people.
- We have six instructors (including the training supervisor).
- Several youths including 10 year olds have taken the course.
- We have delivered training sessions to golf clubs, youth clubs and many more.
- We have been working with local schools including Park House and Kennet School.
Some amazing facts and add to that that we are all volunteers, and that we are self-funded, we think that makes it even more amazing.
We introduced AED training on the course earlier in 2014, although not officially part of the Heartstart course we feel that it is a vital skill that should be included. Thus we became one of the few schemes to offer AED training and one of the first, that we are aware of, in West Berkshire. Almost everyone that comes on the course says they were frightened of these devices but having seen how easy it is and being able to try using an AED almost everyone said they would use it in a real life emergency.
Our team have been out giving talks at local events and groups such as Thatcham U3A, Thatcham Rotary Club, local volunteer fairs, etc. We have been on many radio stations including the Breeze, BBC Radio Berksire and Kennet Radio and also in local media including the Reading Chronicle and Newbury Weekly News. All of these raising awareness not only of what we do but also educating people on what an AED is and the difference between a Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest.
Our fund raising team, which includes many friends and family of the Heartstart team, have hardly had any time to relax this year. Several quizes were held early in the year, one with over 100 attendees. We have been involved with the Community Market in Thatcham that has been held for the first time this year. We have received various donations, not just money but other items that we have been able to sell on and raise funds. We have had others such as Thames Valley Police, a group of dancers and the Corn Exchange in Newbury also raising funds for us. Our own We also operated, with the help of Thatcham Neighbourhood Wardens, a Santa’s Grotto!
A chance meeting early in 2014 led to us working with on a project to deloy AEDs with several other organisations including Henwick Joint Committee, West Berkshire Council, Thatcham Neighbourhood Wardens, Newbury BID Street Rangers, Thatcham Rotary Club and Thatcham Town Council. The group is led by Dr Nick Young, our Scheme Coordinator. The aim initially was to place four AEDs around Thatcham but has since grown to nine AEDs which will be placed in Thatcham, Newbury and Cold Ash. Indeed three are already in place and a fourth to be installed very early in 2015.
Awards & recognition
In October our Scheme Coordinator, Dr Nick Young, was awarded the Sovereign Housing Association’s Community Award for his work with Heartstart Thatcham. He was also awarded the West Berkshire Learner Award for “Inspiring Others.” Nick is understandably proud of this but notes “whilst everyone typically will see me as the public face of Heartstart Thatcham, it really is a team effort and without the team the scheme would not be the success it is today.”
I think you will agree that we have achieved a lot, we have been going non-stop and plan to continue on all the activities. Indeed we have three courses filling up already for 2015 and more being arranged. There are fundraising events alreadt being arranged including the ever-popular quiz. The AED scheme is an ongoing project and we will continue to go out and educate others where we can.