A potentially life-saving defibrillator has been installed by Thirteen Group on St Aidan’s Drive in Middlesbrough.

Along with funding and installing the equipment, the housing group worked with St Aidan’s Residents’ Association to support them in their guardianship of the defibrillator and registering the device on the national defibrillator network, which connects defibrillators to NHS ambulance services across the UK so that they can be accessed quickly to help save lives.

Middlesbrough Central Ward Councillor Linda Lewis is a custodian of the new defibrillator. She approached Thirteen for their support after recognising a need for defibrillator access in the area. She says, “This is something close to my heart, pardon the pun.

“My husband Harry went into cardiac arrest shortly after returning home from his job at James Cook Hospital in early hours of Valentine’s Day 2018.

“I administered CPR, having had no training, and managed to get him breathing again until emergency services arrived. The paramedics were marvellous and my husband and I couldn’t fault the excellent care given by staff in our wonderful NHS. He was in hospital for five weeks and made a gradual recovery, returning to work six months later.

“This was a happy outcome for my husband but it’s sadly not the case for many other people, and the chances of surviving a cardiac arrest are low without the use of a defibrillator.

“I’ve since completed a first aid course and found that defibrillators are so easy to use. This is one of the reasons why having a defibrillator in the area is so vital – it’s there for anyone should they need it. The new defibrillator was used sixteen times in October. It’s good to know it’s there, helping others.”

Recognising the importance of these devices to local communities, Thirteen plans to install a further two defibrillators in the Primrose Hill area of Stockton and Dyke House area of Hartlepool.

The purchase of these defibrillators will be funded by Thirteen’s community fund, which offers grants to local groups and agencies for projects that make a positive contribution to the well-being and sustainability of neighbourhoods.

Thirteen are working with local community groups in these areas to support them through the registration and guardianship process, and additional funding will be made available to these groups through the community fund to support with maintenance of the defibrillators.

Main pic: l-r Tracey Hayes – Housing Services Co-ordinator, Jill Fidan – Community Development Co-ordinator, Linda Lewis – Councillor for Central Ward Middlesbrough