Lifesaving equipment has been installed in Southwick, thanks to a Neighbourhood Funding allocation and support from Sunderland heart charity the Red Sky Foundation.

A new defibrillator has been installed at Southwick Community Centre, one of eight life-saving machines that will be put in place across the north area of the city thanks to investment from Sunderland’s North Area Committee.

The new kit – which can be accessed by the wider community in case of emergency – will ensure that people in cardiac arrest in the area can be provided with treatment that could save their life.  In addition to the installation of the defibrillators, Red Sky Foundation will run a series of educational programmes for communities across Sunderland North, focusing on healthy hearts and CPR sessions to ensure people know how to use the kit if needed.

Southwick’s Labour councillors have fought hard for the funding to deliver the community defibs, amounting to almost £10,000, which will ensure the new pieces of equipment – based at community hubs across the north area – are available if needed.

Councillor Kelly Chequer, Southwick Ward councillor who also holds the city’s health portfolio, said: “We’re delighted to be able to put in place equipment that could save lives across the ward.

“As a nurse, I know just how vital this equipment can be in an emergency – it really can be the difference between life and death. So to know that, if needed, people in Southwick can benefit from easy access to defibs is something I am really proud to have brought forward.”

The equipment is in a secure cabinet, that can be accessed using a code provided by emergency services if a call is made to them to report an incident.

New equipment will also be installed in Redhouse and District Community Association, Thompson Park Community Association, Veterans in Crisis CIC, Castletown Community Association, Grace House, St Bede’s Community Project and Hylton Castle Working Men’s Club.

Councillor Michael Butler, who also represents the ward, added: “People across Southwick will be safer thanks to the ready availability of defibrillators. Sunderland Labour Group has worked tirelessly to deliver a safer, cleaner, greener community and – through the installation of life-saving equipment – we’re ensuring that people in the ward can be given the best possible chance in an emergency.”

Sergio Petrucci, founder of Red Sky Foundation, said: “We’re really pleased to be working with local councillors in Southwick to ensure that as many people as possible have access and know how to use the lifesaving equipment being installed in the area.  Only 1 in 10 people survive a cardiac arrest outside of hospital and we’re doing our best to improve those statistics. It’s difficult to overstate the difference a defib can make to someone’s chances of survival if they go into cardiac arrest and I am delighted Red Sky Foundation is able to help with more and more of them being installed across the city.”

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