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Defibrillator and training for St Matthews community marks SADS Awareness Week

Posted: Fri, 05 Oct 2018

Defibrillator and training for St Matthews community marks SADS Awareness Week

A NEW multi-use games area and Cruyff court in St Matthews in Leicester has officially launched its new public-access defibrillator.

St Matthews multi-use games area is a flagship project on the city estate, which officially opened in August. Located in Willow Street, it was delivered by St Matthews Big Local (Leicester) and funded by the Big Lottery, Sport England, the Cruyff Foundation and Samworth Brothers with support from Leicester City Council. It includes a two-lane running track, a basketball court, a tennis court and a 3G football pitch.

Now, these state-of-the-art facilities are becoming heartsafe thanks to the installation of a new defibrillator – located at the What Cabin on the site – plus training in how to use it.

The St Matthews community has worked closely with local charity the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust (JHMT) to become heartsafe. The JHMT, British Heart Foundation and Leicester City Council have helped St Matthews Big Local with funding for the defibrillator and an external box to keep the defibrillator safe and accessible to the public 24/7, plus JHMT have provided free training in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and how to use a defibrillator.

Simon Johnson, chair of St Matthews Big Local said:

"We're delighted to have a defibrillator alongside our new, and already very well-used, facilities. Nothing could be more important than potentially saving someone's life, which is why a defibrillator is an essential bit of kit to have on-site.

"It's just as important that people know how to use one, should the worst happen. We're very grateful to the JHMT for helping us and providing this training, so that parents, young people, coaches and anyone who uses these facilities know that we are a heartsafe community venue."

Steve Humphries, chair of the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust, said:

"It's vitally important that being heartsafe is not overlooked when new community sports facilities like these are opened, which is why we were all too happy to help St Matthews Big Local to get a defibrillator and some training.

"Sudden heart deaths aren't inevitable, they're preventable. Each year in England, paramedics attempt resuscitation in around half of the 60,000 people who have suffered an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and sadly, only around eight per cent – or about 2,500 of these people – will leave hospital alive.

"Someone administering effective CPR and deploying a defibrillator within a few minutes can make a huge positive difference to survival rates – and that's what we want to achieve. After all, everyone can save a life."

The JHMT is a local heart charity set up in memory of Leicester teenager Joe Humphries, who collapsed and died while out jogging near his family home in Rothley, Leicestershire. Joe was a victim of sudden arrhythmic death syndrome (SADS) – a group of lethal heart diseases which can cause sudden cardiac death in young people.

Since then, his family and friends have worked tirelessly to campaign for a better understanding of sudden, unexpected death in young people, and have campaigned for compulsory CPR training in schools and defibrillators in schools, community venues and sports clubs.

The charity has also set up the Inspire Awards, a small grants scheme that helps local young people to fulfil their ambitions in music, the arts, community ventures and entrepreneurship.

This week (1-5 Oct) is SADS Awareness Week, an annual campaign where the JHMT undertakes awareness-raising work, provides training for medics, and holds events and community activities across the city and county to highlight the shocking statistic that 12 young people aged 12-35 in Britain die each week from SADS.

Tags: SADS