Funding available for defibrillators across West Norfolk

Funding available for defibrillators across West Norfolk
Stuart Dark MBE with Brian Hallard at the Princess Theatre where a defibrillator was installed in 2021. It was funded by the Theatre's fundraising efforts and a top up from the Borough Council.

A £50,000 scheme from the Borough Council's Small Projects Fund opens on 1st February.

The council is aware that some parishes and community groups are actively looking at purchasing this life-saving equipment themselves and this scheme will offer communities the opportunity to have a funded defibrillator installed.

Leader of the council, Stuart Dark MBE, said: “This is great news for people across west Norfolk. As the fifth-largest borough in the country, covering a quarter of Norfolk, we know the challenges faced by all public services in meeting the needs of communities spread across such a large area.

“This move helps us to both support each other better at times of medical emergency and support the blue-light services, who are dealing with unprecedented demand.

“We know how important community defibrillators are: in 2021 we helped to fund the provision of a defibrillator outside the Princess Theatre in Hunstanton and within months it was used to help an audience member after he unfortunately suffered a heart attack during a performance there.

Applications are due to open on 1 February and will run as a rolling programme, which will give applicants more time to consider their needs, such as location, planning requirements and the type of defibrillator best suited to their community. Allocation of the funding will take into account the location of existing and proposed defibrillators, with the aim of ensuring wide access across as much of the borough as possible.

However, by purchasing the defibrillators through a third party, the process will be made quick and easy for parish councils, community groups and charities to apply. Applications will be managed on the council’s behalf by Norfolk Community Foundation.

The council will fund the whole cost of the defibrillator up to a maximum grant of £1,000. Applicants can still choose more expensive models, and make up the difference. The only commitment required from applicants is that they must identify a location, ensure any planning requirements are met, and agree to meet running costs (usually <£50 per year).

The cost of the scheme will be met from the borough council’s Small Projects Fund.

Cllr Sam Sandell, cabinet member for people and communities, said: “The government announced welcome funding in December for an extra 1,000 defibrillators across the whole of the country. This scheme means that locally, far more assistance will be given in West Norfolk. We are pleased to use the Norfolk Community Foundation’s expertise to deliver these grants for us, as we did recently with the additional funding put in to significantly raise the ‘community hotspot grants’ available to communities in our area.”

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