Longhurst Group joins forces with community groups to help heart attack victims

Longhurst Group has helped to install potentially life-saving equipment in Rutland.

A new community defibrillator has been installed on the side of Spire Homes' community room at Gerard Court, Uppingham, in partnership with community group Uppingham First, Uppingham Rotary Club and the Community Heartbeat Trust.

Spire is part of Longhurst Group and provides over 5,000 properties and care services across Northamptonshire, Rutland and Leicestershire.

As well as being hooked up to Spire’s electricity supply, the provider also arranged for the free fitting of the device, which delivers a high-energy electric shock to the heart through the chest wall of someone who is in cardiac arrest. The pulse is called defibrillation and is an essential step in saving lives.

The latest device, funded by the Rotary Club and costing in excess of £2,000, expands Uppingham’s network of defibrillators and will be complimented by training and refresher sessions to ensure that local residents feel confident in using the device in case of emergency.

Andy Wright, Housing Services manager, explained: “We were contacted by Uppingham First, who were looking for somewhere in the town to locate another defibrillator.

“They approached us to ask if they could use one of our properties at Gerard Court. We have the community room there, which is used by all of our residents and accessible to all.

“We were more than happy to have the unit installed and hooked up to our own electricity supply and so we arranged for our contractors at the time to fit it for free, so that it was at no further cost to Uppingham First or the Rotarians.

“It’s an ideal place for the defibrillator to be. It’s clearly visible to everyone and we’ve put up some additional signs to direct people to it.

“Hopefully it’ll never have to be used but it’s there, in the middle of the community, in case of an emergency.

“It’s something we felt we could do to contribute to the good health and well-being of the wider community, not just our customers living in the area.”

According to current statistics, each year in Britain around 30,000 people are struck by sudden cardiac arrest outside of hospital environments.

Every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces a victim’s survival rate by seven to 10 per cent. However, if a defibrillator is used within 3-5 minutes of someone suffering a cardiac arrest, survival rates jump up to around 74 per cent.

Uppingham’s Defibrillator Network Coordinator Ron Simpson said, “The Board of Uppingham First are delighted that Spire Homes agreed to host this defibrillator and work with the Partnership, the Rotary Club of Uppingham and the Community Heartbeat Trust to help make Uppingham a safer place.

“This is the fifth in a network of seven such devices planned for Uppingham covering the north, south, east, west and centre of the town.

“Once again, the community and business sectors have demonstrated that by working together much can be achieved.

“Finding a host who will provide electricity and supervision to each device is a challenging task; Spire Homes are to be applauded for their initiative and community spirit.”

(Photo: Pictured from left to right are; Hugh Holden, Spire Homes' Housing Services Manager Andy Wright, Uppingham’s Defibrillator Network Coordinator Ron Simpson, Rotary Club President Norman Porter and Margaret Simpson.)

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