SSEN funding helps build life-saving skills in local community

Residents and visitors to Woolhampton and the surrounding areas are benefitting from the community’s life-saving skills thanks to funding from their electricity distributor, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN).

Run by SSEN, with the assistance of an independent panel, the Resilient Communities Fund has awarded nearly a quarter of a million pounds in its latest round of funding for central southern England.

Several applicants have used the scheme to enhance the resilience of their community with a public access defibrillator and, while the defibrillators carry clear instructions for use, training residents in life-saving techniques such as CPR is also essential, especially in more remote areas or those which can be cut off by flooding during adverse weather.

Last year, SSEN funding enabled over 50 residents in Woolhampton and Beech Hill to be trained through the British Heart Foundation’s Heartstart courses and now, through SSEN’s Resilient Communities Fund, the Community Council for Berkshire has been awarded over £1,600 to deliver further defibrillator training courses in Woolhampton. From spring onwards, the Community Council for Berkshire will host the training events, with the first already having taken place for 14 trainees under the watchful eye of Dr. Nick Young and two other volunteer trainers. Many of those attending the event were from outlying, rural areas that can be more isolated and therefor at higher risk when lifesaving support is urgently needed in the early vital minutes following a heart attack or injury.

Danielle Royce is Scottish and Southern Electricity Network’s Deputy Head of Region covering the Woolhampton area. She said: “It’s wonderful to be able to provide this funding, which is enabling so many people to learn life-saving skills that can benefit their community and beyond.

“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; cutting villages off or making it hard for emergency services to reach them.

“The reassurance that these defibrillators – and the skills to use them – brings to a local community is invaluable and I’d encourage anyone to look at the funding available to see how they could use it to help build resilience in to their local area.”

Kate Mead from The Community Council for Berkshire added: “The Community Council for Berkshire work with the most rural and isolated communities in Berkshire where emergency 1st Aid and Defibrillator skills really can save lives. While someone is in cardiac arrest their chance of survival decreases by at least 10% for every minute that passes without intervention.

“Getting help and starting CPR immediately is a priority and where available getting an Automated External Defibrillators to the scene can significantly improve the survival rates. We are so grateful to SSEN for enabling us to organise these courses – Thank you!”

Applications for the latest round of funding from the Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks Resilient Communities Fund are now open across central southern England, with up to £20,000 available to charities and local groups who wish to undertake a resilience project to help protect their communities in the event of an emergency.

Guidelines and applications forms are available on SSEN’s website: www.ssen.co.uk/RCF/England/.

The closing date for applications is Tuesday 15 May 2018, with awards being made in autumn 2018.