Councillor urges residents to make use of life-saving defibrillator training sessions at South Tyneside park

A councillor and others who contributed to the fundraising effort behind the recent installation of a defibrillator at a South Tyneside park are now encouraging residents to engage with training in how to use the potentially life-saving device.

Westoe councillor Glenn Thompson thanked the North East Heart Charity, the Red Sky Foundation, the region’s ambulance service and other groups, following the installation of the defibrillator at Readhead Park in South Shields.

He now hopes residents in the area will avail of newly-provided training sessions and equip themselves with the knowledge of how to use the device when required.

With around 1,000 weekly visitors, the park’s Veterans Bowling and Social Club and the Friends of Readhead Park said it was important the park had its own defibrillator for use in emergencies.

South Tyneside Council - Tony Purcell, Councillor Allan West, Red Sky Foundation - Sergio Petrucci, Readhead Park Veterans Bowling and Social Club - Harry McLean, Councillor Glenn Thompson, Friends of the Readhead Park - Paul Brenen.

“It’s taken close to eighteen months and a lot of work to get to this point,” Cllr Thompson said.

“With the age of the bowling club members, we began to look at the need to have devices like this one made available not just in this particular park but across the borough more widely.”

According to the Red Sky Foundation, around 5,000 people die in the North East from sudden cardiac arrest each year.

Cllr Thompson and the charity organisation also said the installation was especially timely since South Tyneside has a relatively low number of such devices available across the borough.

“We’re something of a ‘black spot’ in terms of defibrillator coverage when compared with what’s available in other neighbouring local authority areas,” the Westoe councillor added.

"The Friends of the Readhead Park group and the Readhead Park Veterans Bowling and Social Club will now be working closely at ensuring awareness of the device and training is offered to as many people as possible.

"We are currently working on the first of several training sessions that will take place in the area, this is obviously dependent on Covid restrictions and will be advertised when agreed with South Tyneside Council.

"The North East Ambulance Service, the Friends of the Readhead Park and the Readhead Park Veterans Bowling and Social Club, ultimately hope to saturate the area with the required knowledge to give confidence in the use of a defibrillator.”

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