AMRC helps fund life-saving kit for community

03 April 2019

The University of Sheffield AMRC has helped fund a state-of-the-art, solar powered charging unit for a life-saving defibrillator on the neighbouring Waverley estate at Rotherham.

It has been installed close to the AMRC Training Centre at the far end of Lescar Road, a location that will be at the heart of the growing residential estate once a new school and community garden opens there in the coming years.

The vital piece of kit – which is freestanding and housed in a smart solar-charged cabinet that is publicly accessible 24/7 - was made possible through partnership work between Waverley Residents’ Association, the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), Rother Vale ward councillors and local charity, Start-a-Heart 24:7.

The defibrillator is securely housed within a locked cabinet which can only be opened using a keypad access code provided by calling 999.

Partnership works: Inventor Ian Lilley and Jamie Baggaley with the solar-powered unit.

Jamie Baggaley, chairman of Waverley Residents Association, hopes it will never have to be used but said it’s a very welcome addition to the estate as the nearest accessible defibrillator is about a mile away at Morrisons supermarket.

“Someone asked the association where the nearest defibrillator is and that started the ball rolling for this project to get a 24/7 publicly accessible one in Waverley. It’s been made possible with funding from the AMRC and Rother Vale ward councillors and sourced through Start-A-Heart 24:7. We’re very grateful for the support to make it happen.

“Lescar Road was chosen as the best place location as the long term development plan for the estate will see a school being built across the road and there’s going to be a community garden close by so it really made sense really to have it here as this will be a very community-focussed area.”

When a cardiac arrest happens, a person’s chance of survival drops ten per cent every minute that passes, according to Start-a-Heart 24:7. Trish Lister, who set up the charity after husband Stuart died of a cardiac arrest in 2013, said it is dedicated to working with communities to provide 24 hour access to external defibrillators and safe boxes.

“A defibrillator can administer an electric shock to help restart the heart and having fast access to one can be a life-saving,” she said.  “So far we have helped get 74 in the Rotherham borough and another 46 further afield. The one here is Waverley is a great example of what can be achieved through partnership working.”

After looking for suitable locations it became clear that an innovative solution was need so the residents’ association was put in touch with Manchester-based manufacturer of the ‘Superbin’ cabinet Ian Lilley, whose solar-powered creation was the perfect solution to the association who needed a cabinet that didn’t require mains power.

Ian said: “It took two years to go from the idea to final product. It’s still relatively new but they’re in golf courses, parks and fisheries. It was developed from my original idea for a lockable tool box that could be shared by volunteer community litter pickers.”             

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