Peterborough community centre thanks community after raising funds to replace vandalised defibrillator

“The defibrillator case was broken but the one thing remains is the community spirit.”

By Ben Jones
Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 12:41 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 1:04 pm
Community Centre leader Evelyn Speechley hands over the cheque to Gemma Wells from Gemma's Hearts, also in attendance, Cllr Sam Hemraj (left), Shabina Qayyum (right) and representatives from Britannia Fire and Security Ltd.

Volunteers at Chestnuts community centre have been left overwhelmed with the support they have received in the aftermath of a defibrillator on the side of the building in Eastfield.

Last month, the centre’s defibrillator, which was donated by local charity, Gemma’s Hearts was kicked from the wall, reportedly by a group of teenagers.

Fortunately, the lifesaving device itself was still left in working order but the case required to protect it was damaged beyond repair, this meant that it had to be taken out of the system.

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The defibrillator had only been installed four weeks before the incident but had been used six times in that period, including twice in the week before the vandalism occurred.

The committee at the community centre then set about raising the money to replace the case with a stronger steel one to hopefully prevent such incidents in future.

Through a fundraising week, which saw volunteers hold tombolas, raffles and bake sales plus many more activities, they were able to raise £730 towards the costs. Local ward councillors Cllr Sam Hemraj and Cllr Shabina Qayyum also assisted in the fundraising efforts.

The cheque was handed over to Gemma’s Hearts on Saturday (May 7) in front of the community centre.

Upon hearing about the vandalism, Britannia Fire and Security Ltd offered to fit the new case for free and donated security cameras to help keep the device safe in future. The centre’s fundraising efforts were also helped on their way by an anonymous donor, who donated £200 of the cause, taking the total raised to well over £700.

Evelyn Speechley, who has run the community centre for the last 28 years, said: “This weekend, we had the pleasure of handing over a cheque to Gemma’s Hearts to help cover the costs of the broken defibrillator case.“Chestnuts community centre would like to say a very big thank you Tom and Colin Pogson, owners Britannia Fire and Security LTD, for the generous donation of the security cameras and fitting and Mark Wells from Peterborough Round Table, Cllr Hemraj and Cllr Qayyum, for there continuous support.

"The local area has come together really well and we have had lots of offers to help. Through cake sales, tombola, raffle and bric-à-brac the community raised a massive £530. We also had an anonymous donor donate £200 - which made a massive grand total of £730.

"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.”

“We would once again like to thank everyone for their continued support, the defibrillator case was broken but the one thing remains is the community spirit.

The case is expected to arrive next week and then the defibrillator can be reconnected to the circuit and be back on standby to potentially save a life.