A life-saving piece of equipment has been installed at a community centre after a fundraising drive by members of a club who meet there.
The public access defibrillator was unveiled at the Park Way Community Centre in Rhos-on-Sea that’s managed by housing association Cartrefi Conwy.
The £1,400 to buy the machine was raised by members of the local Park Way Coffee and Social Club who were inspired by the Welsh Hearts charity’s Shaky Hearts campaign.
It’s been fixed to the wall by the entrance of the centre and members of the community are being trained how to use it should anyone suffer a cardiac arrest.
If the device detects that the patient’s heart is in a “shockable rhythm”, it allows an electrical charge to be delivered.
As a result, survival rates rise from less than 10 per cent to more than 50 per cent when “good Samaritans” use defibrillators.
A special event organised to celebrate the group’s success was attended by Nick Aitken, from the Welsh Hearts charity, who paid tribute to 88-year-old Joyce Stubbs from the coffee club who organised the fundraising.
He told the group: “The Shaky Heart campaign is spearheaded by the charity’s patron Shakin’ Stevens who suffered a cardiac arrest in 2010 and was saved by his partner.
“Since making a full recovery Shaky, as he is known to his faithful fans, has supported the charity and has really helped in the campaign to get more defibrillators into places where they can be accessed when needed by the public.
“Wales has one of the lowest survival rates in Europe when it comes to cardiac arrests. However, when immediate CPR and a defibrillator is used survival rates rocket by more than 50 per cent.
“It’s fantastic Cartrefi Conwy have installed the defibrillator at Park Way Community Centre and will check and maintain the machine. It will benefit the whole community.”
Joyce Stubbs has been attending the Park Way Coffee Club, formed more than 34 years ago, on a Tuesday and Saturday for many years and is the club’s secretary.
She was spurred into action after hearing Nick Aitken give a presentation to members about the importance of CPR and defibrillators in March this year.
She said: “I thought it was something really important but we needed £995 for the actual machine and £400 for the casing. I had many individual donations and we raised money through raffles and all sorts of schemes.
“We have now had the machine installed and I feel better knowing it’s there and ready to help anyone who needs it. We are already fundraising for a second machine and we are organising CPR training for the community.”
“It’s fabulous that Cartrefi Conwy will carry out weekly checks and inspections to ensure it’s always in tip-top condition. That’s important.”
Colwyn Bay town councillor Glenys Baker is a member of the Park Way Coffee Club and, as a retired nurse, she wants to see defibrillators in every community facility in Rhos-on-Sea.
She said: “I met Nick Aitken and invited him to the Coffee Club to give a presentation. Joyce really took the message on board and together with member Maureen Garner energised everyone into fundraising.
“This whole group is an example to everyone as to what can be done with a little effort and community spirit.
“It’s my mission to see defibrillators available to the whole community and in every public place. It’s so important and really could save lives. “I have to say it’s a pleasure to work with Cartrefi Conwy who are so forward thinking and accommodating.
“It’s wonderful the defibrillator has been installed at Park Way Community Centre where it’s available for the whole community.”
Bill Hunt who is a tenant board member and chair of the Operations Committee at Cartrefi Conwy, said: “Fundraising for and purchasing the defibrillator is a fabulous achievement and proves what can be done when a community comes together.
“This life-saving device will benefit Cartrefi Conwy tenants but also the wider community. Everyone that has helped raise the required funds deserves a real pat on the back.”
Cartrefi Conwy older persons’ engagement officer Nerys Veldhuizen said: “The Park Way Coffee Club is attended by Cartrefi Conwy tenants and other members of the community. Raising the funds needed to purchase the defibrillator is an amazing achievement.
“I’m personally thrilled to see the machine installed within Cartrefi Conwy’s Independent Living Scheme where it will be of benefit to the whole community. It really shows just what our older people can achieve.”