Published: 18 February 2022

Gravesham Life Saving Club's Outreach team, Save a Life Gravesham, has been working extremely hard for many months with local residents, the Parish Church, and the Community Heartbeat Trust to secure an automated external defibrillator (AED) which is available for public access in Gravesend.

Two years ago, with donations from local residents and businesses, Save a Life Gravesham launched their first Community Public Access Defibrillator (cPAD) at Gravesend Boat, public house. The life saving club are now responsible for the AED and complete regular checks and maintenance.

Due to the pandemic, the club was unable to deliver the level of ongoing training that they initially wanted to; however, they have great plans to change this by offering training sessions for the community in CPR and AED use and wanted to continue with similar schemes in other parts of the community.

Then in 2021, a local and well-known resident of Chalk Village, Gravesend suffered a sudden cardiac arrest in the street and Gravesham Life Saving Club knew they needed to act.

Andy Fooks from Gravesham Life Saving Club commented “The gentleman’s cardiac arrest was reported on social media, and it was suggested that a fundraising project was launched to provide an AED for the area. I saw this and offered our services to provide awareness training.

“One of the local residents started a Go-Fund me page, and within a few days, £2000 had been donated. To get the project funded in such a short time was fantastic, but it had to be sustainable, so we began working with The Community Heartbeat Trust as they support cPAD schemes with help, advice and an ongoing annual support package of battery, pad replacement and insurance for the device.”

As the local community pulled together, the AED was installed on 12th February 2022 and was unveiled by the widow of the gentleman who unfortunately passed away following his cardiac arrest. 

Save a Life AED Series workshop

Following the installation of the AED, Gravesham Life Saving Club have provided the Save a Life AED session which is run by the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), free of charge to members of the local community, including the local councillor for Chalk, and the local Vicar.

Andy added “We had 16 members of the local community present undergoing training. Although many of the attendees had already donated, we had a collection at the end of the session and all monies donated went to fund the ongoing costs of the AED. Working with local businesses is also proving beneficial, as a local restaurant Chalk 'N' Teas has a donation pot and is assisting with regular monitoring of the AED.”

Gravesham Life Saving Club

Those who attended the training sessions were able to benefit greatly, with comments including ‘I'm really glad I attended, I feel so much more confident now with the AED, thank you’ and ‘I didn't know the AED would decide what to do regarding whether to shock or not. It's great to know you can't do any harm with it’.

"To be able to assist with the local community is one of the key things Gravesham Life Saving Club, and the outreach team of Save a Life Gravesham, is extremely proud be able to do," said Andy Fooks.

He continued “This type of partnership is something we are trying to build upon with other local communities. We are, for example, delivering AED training to some of the local Parish Councils. We are currently working with The Grand, a local youth group, to provide AEDs for Gravesend town centre. The plan here is that the young people raise the money, and we deliver the training in its use. We are also considering delivering some Community Instructor courses as well for them, so the scheme can be self-promoting, with our support where needed.”

Find out more about the Save a Life Series

Save a Life Gravesham Facebook Page