Earlier this month (April 9), volunteers at Chestnuts Community Centre were devastated to that the case of their defibrillator has been kicked off the wall and the device itself left discarded on the floor.
It was reported that around 15 youths were seen trying to kick it off the wall at around 6:30pm.
The unit was donated by charity Gemma’s Hearts but had to be taken out of circulation due to the damage. The charity also confirmed that the defibrillator had only been installed four weeks ago but had been used six times in that period, including twice in the week before the vandalism occurred.
In response to this, volunteers at the community centre held a fundraising week to raise the funds to cover the costs of purchasing and installing a new case, fortunately, the defibrillator itself was still in working order.
This included selling homemade cakes, tombolas, raffles and managed to raise £500 towards the costs, which was expected to be around £700. The costs have been raised given that the centre will be purchasing a stronger steel cabinet.
The centre also planned to install new CCTV cameras to watch the unit. These will be fitted, along with the unit, by Brittania Alarms, which has said it will carry out these works for free.
The new unit will now be installed and a cheque for the funds presented to Gemma Wells, who runs the Gemma’s Hearts Charity on next month (May 9).
Evelyn Speechley, who has run the community centre for the last 28 years, said: “It’s fantastic to be at this stage and it’s a great gesture from Britannia.
"The local area has come together really well and we have had lots of offers to help. In an area like this, that isn’t affluent, to raise £500 is a week is a great effort and I want to thank everyone who uses the centre and those who have offered their support.
"We have never had vandalism at our community centre and we were shocked people would even do something like this but we are looking forward to having the unit installed an working again, saving lives.”