Life-saving project in Warwickshire gets charity status

Back row: Helen smith, Sally Shacklock, Guy King, Paul Rowlands. Back row: Helen Gregory and Nick Shacklock.

A collaborative project that has trained thousands of people in Warwickshire how to perform life-saving skills has officially become a charity.

Warwickshire Hearts began as a collaborative community project between Warwick District Community First Responders, Waterside Medical Centre and Warwick charity Evelyn’s Gift.

The project’s aim is to train as many people as possible to perform CPR and how to use a defibrillator.

Since 2015 nearly 3,000 people in Warwickshire have trained in settings such as primary and secondary schools, work places, Guiding and Scouts groups and sports clubs.

On Sunday, October 1 the project officially became a charity.

Warwickshire Hearts will continue with its training and the Warwick District Community First Responders, who have been providing the training as well as supporting the West Midlands Ambulance Service with volunteer 999 response work, will merge with the new charity.

Nick Shacklock, chair of Warwickshire Hearts, said: “Warwickshire Hearts has been a hugely successful collaboration for us as Community Responders. It has given us an additional outlet to use our skills for the benefit of the community and working so closely with Evelyn’s Gift charity has been a hugely rewarding experience for all concerned. We’re greatly looking forward to making even more of a difference under the new structure. Do come and join us.”

Helen Smith, from Evelyn’s Gift, said: “The Community First Responders already provide vital 999 response cover and CPR training to the public. Through our collaboration, many more people have been trained to save lives, thanks to the dedication of all members of the training team. It is comforting to know that Evelyn’s legacy will reach so many people and I am proud to be a trustee of Warwickshire Hearts.”

Training in CPR and defibrillators will continue to be free but any donations made will go towards the work of Warwickshire Hearts.

The charity is a voluntary organisation and receives no public funding or funding from West Midlands Ambulance Service other than provision of some training and consumables.

The charity is currently fundraising for personal protective and diagnostic equipment for their new volunteers. It costs approximately £500 to provide kit for a trained volunteer and there are around six people, who are currently being trained and will require kit.

In addition, Warwickshire Hearts will need to replace their 999 response vehicle in 18 months, at a cost of approximately £15,000.

Anyone who is able to help with fundraising or is able to donate can do so at by going to:

https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/warwickshirehearts

On Monday, October 16, Warwickshire Hearts will be taking part again in Restart a Heart day. This year, they aim to train more than 1,000 people in life-saving skills in one day.

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