New life-saving defibrillators have been installed at three community sites across Beaumont Leys following work by ward councillors with support from a local heart charity.
The devices, which can be used by members of the public to help treat someone who is suffering a cardiac arrest, have been paid for using unspent funds from the Beaumont Leys community grant, which is designed for projects helping local people.
Ward councillors had teamed up with the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust (JHMT) – one of the key goals of the charity is to ensure public facilities across the city and county are equipped with defibrillators, known as AEDs, in places where they can be easily accessed in an emergency.
The new devices have now been installed outside the LOROS Hospice, off Groby Road, and at Home Farm Neighbourhood Centre in Strasbourg Drive.
An AED in a cabinet has also been installed in the residential area of Lady Hay Road.
In each case, the equipment will be in a location which is accessible 24/7.
The latest three AEDs in Beaumont Leys are in addition to 33 devices which have been installed in all of Leicester’s parks over the last few years.
The Joe Humphries Memorial Trust was set up following the death in 2012 of 14-year-old Joe Humphries, who died while jogging with his friend.
His death was a result of Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS), a lethal group of undiagnosed heart conditions that claim the lives of more than 12 teenagers and young adults, aged 12-35, every week in the UK.
SADS conditions occur because the electrical system of the heart is not working properly, so that the heart beats with an abnormal rhythm.
Since then, the JHMT has worked closely with schools, sports clubs and community groups across the city and county to raise awareness of SADS and to ensure more people have key CPR skills and know how to use a defibrillator, and that publicly-accessible defibrillators are available within communities.
Cllr Hemant Rae Bhatia, one of three Beaumont Leys ward councillors, worked alongside the JHMT to find suitable locations and funding for three AEDs.
The trust is also planning to deliver CPR and AED familiarisation training sessions in the Beaumont Leys community.
Cllr Bhatia said: “With no events taking place due to lockdown restrictions we had to find alternative ways to support our communities. We decided to invest our ward community fund into something tangible and long lasting that would provide health benefits or could even be a lifesaver.
“Thankfully we were in contact with city council officers who were already well-versed with installing defibrillators. These devices are lifesavers in the event of a cardiac arrest. We decided to fund three of them in different locations across the ward, thus ensuring wider coverage.
“Home Farm Neighbourhood Centre, LOROS at Heathley Park and Lady Hay Road in Bradgate Heights now have fully functional and fully automatic, state of the art AEDs which are publicly accessible.
“Even if we save one life through this, then it will be well worth it. There will be more coming to other parts of the ward too.
“On behalf of my fellow councillors, Vi Dempster and Paul Westley, I would like to thank our community stakeholders, city council staff and the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust for their great support in making this happen. It would not have been possible without them.”
JHMT’s Charles Poole added: “In the event of someone suffering a cardiac arrest, CPR and rapid access to a defibrillator can increase the patient’s chances of survival significantly.
“Accessed via the ambulance service when calling 999, these AEDs are designed to be used by anyone. The JHMT training in CPR and familiarising people with how to use AEDs will also help give added confidence.”
October 4 to 10 is SADS Awareness Week across the city and county, an annual campaign where the JHMT undertakes awareness-raising work, including training for community sports clubs and groups.
The work highlights the shocking statistic that 12 young people aged under 35 in Britain die each week from undiagnosed heart conditions like SADS.
To find out more go to www.jhmt.org.uk
Picture caption: Jo Kavanagh (LOROS), Cllr Paul Westley and Cllr Hemant Rae Bhatia at the installation of a defibrillator outside the LOROS hospice in Leicester.