An appeal has been launched to pay for life-saving defibrillators to be installed at railway stations in North Wales.
Sponsors are being sought for the community project to “save lives one beat at time” at the smaller stations along the Conwy Valley and North West Wales Coast lines.
The appeal was unveiled by a new partnership between Transport for Wales and Network Rail, together with the Keep the Beats which is a dedicated fund within the North Wales NHS charity, Awyr Las.
First to step up to the plate was housing association Cartrefi Conwy which is sponsoring the public access defibrillator at the entrance to the Denbigh Street station in Llanrwst.
The partnership is now looking for other sponsors to get on board to fund the defibrillators at the other 11 stations at Blaenau Ffestiniog, Pont y Pant, Betws y Coed, Talycafn, Glan Conwy, Conwy, Deganwy, Llanfair PG, Bodorgan, Valley, Tŷ Croes and Rhosneigr.
They are hoping that local businesses and groups will follow Cartrefi’s example and volunteer to fund the defibrillators in their own communities.
The initiative is the brainchild of Tomos Hughes BEM, the North Wales Community Access Defibrillator Officer, who is funded by Keep the Beats to install defibrillators across North Wales, including one at the top of Snowdon.
He said: “Keep the Beats is part of the NHS charity Awyr Las which is run by front line staff and provides services over and above what the NHS can provide.
“Defibrillators have saved many lives in North Wales and now we want to take it one step further to ensure that our transport links have the same level of support available should a cardiac arrest occur.
“A defibrillator gives the patient an electrical shock across the heart which is designed to get the heart back working at a proper rhythm.
“If someone rings 999 and asks for an ambulance and it’s likely to be a cardiac arrest that’s the issue the ambulance call handler will direct the caller to the nearest machine and give them a code to access the cabinet.
“The caller can then use the defibrillator until the ambulance crew arrives. The Automated External Device(AED) defibrillator itself gives verbal, easy to follow, instructions to the user. You cannot hurt someone or make matters worse by using a defibrillator. A shock will only be administered if it is required.”
Cartrefi Conwy chose to sponsor the Llanrwst defibrillator because they are currently redeveloping the town’s Glanrafon estate, replacing a block of 30 maisonettes and flats with 14 zero carbon modular homes and making major improvements to six other blocks of apartments as part of a £4.3 million makeover at a 1970s housing estate.
Sharon Jones, the Business & Partnership Director at Cartrefi Conwy and its subsidiary, Creating Enterprise, is an enthusiastic supporter of the idea.
She said: “It’s very important that we have defibrillators across the railway network in North Wales.
“For our part, sponsoring the defibrillator in Llanrwst was particularly appropriate because this is one of the communities we serve and we are investing heavily in redeveloping the Glanrafon estate and in another modular housing scheme on the outskirts of the town.
“We work very closely with Transport for Wales as one of our strategic partners and together we are creating a new community hub at the railway station in Llandudno.”
Cartrefi Conwy chief executive Andrew Bowden said: “We are honoured to be one of the first to commit to this fantastic life-saving project to support our local communities and its visitors.
“We wish to support the safety of our local communities in whatever way we can and if it means that even one life can be saved then that is invaluable and well worth the support and investment.”
It was a sentiment endorsed by Melanie Lawton, Community Rail Manager from Transport For Wales.
She said: “We are thrilled to be an integral part of this extremely worthwhile project for the wellbeing of our passengers’ and nearby communities who may need emergency intervention. Transport for Wales appreciate how vital it is to have these important resources to ensure that public safety is paramount”
Karen Williams Community Rail Officer from Conwy Valley and North West Wales Coast CRP added: “We would be very grateful to anyone who wishes to support this project through kindly fundraising, sponsoring or donating to this project and cause.”
Text “KTB” to 70500 to give £5 now or for more information or corporate sponsorship pack please contact the Awyr Las Fundraising Support Team on 01248 384395 / firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://awyrlas.org.uk/ktb