Football clubs go to the aid of the NHS as lifesaving kit is loaned in the fight against COVID-19

Lifesaving equipment has been pledged to hospitals as football teams and hubs answered a call for support.

Defibrillators have been collected from the Sunderland and South Tyneside's amateur football network and loaned to the NHS.

The dozen collected today, Thursday, March 26, are part of the medical and emergency aid kits held at several clubs and Sunderland's Football Hub network - a partnership project between Sunderland City Council, the Football Association, the Government and the Premier League.

Sunderland City Council's Simon Wardle collected together football teams defibrillators to donate to South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust.

Sunderland's hubs - at Downhill, Ford and Washington - have all opened in the last six months but are closed until further notice because of coronavirus.

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Clubs also followed national guidelines and earlier this month suspended fixtures and joined the council in offering support to health workers to do everything they can to treat patients and help prevent its spread.

Fiona Brown, the council's executive director of neighbourhood services, said: "Doors have closed for now on our football hubs and with the suspension of all amateur games, it was plain to see that this life-saving equipment could be put to other possible uses.

Twelve defibrillators have been handed over to the NHS by football hubs and teams following a call for support.

"It is only right and correct that these essential medical kits are now with our colleagues at the NHS who may yet need them.

“Thank you to all the clubs that have taken up the appeal."

Council staff put out the appeal to support to the NHS by tapping into the city's network of football contacts and social media.

The defibrillators will be loaned to South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, should they be needed, as part of the local NHS response to the pandemic.

Rob Jones, secretary of Sunderland Ryhope Community Association FC who has loaned the club's defibrillator as part of the effort.

The first collection of devices – used to deliver a high energy electric shock to the heart when a person is in a cardiac arrest – was made today at the Washington Football Hub in Stephenson Road, which opened its car park and facilities so social distancing could be followed.Today's collected defibrillators came from:* Two from Leisure United – Downhill and Washington Hub* Sunderland Ryhope Community Association FC* Washington AFC* Washington NSG Athletic* Washington United* Washington Village* Durham United* Willington Youth* South Shields FC* Two from Ashbrooke Sports Club.

Sunderland City Council's Simon Wardle with some of the defibrillators to lent out to South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust by Wearside football hubs and teams.
Social distancing guidelines were followed by the council as the kit was handed over at the Washington Football Hub.