Kenilworth volunteers striving to save lives in the community

The team behind a new initiative that could save lives of the Kenilworth community are looking to raise awareness about life-saving skills.

HeartSafe Kenilworth (KHS) is a town-wide initiative working to make Kenilworth ‘heart safe’. The aims of KHS are: to teach people CPR; to install Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in public places so that all homes and businesses are within a short distance from one and to raise public awareness.

The launch of the Kenilworth HeartSafe initiative.

The launch of the Kenilworth HeartSafe initiative.

The idea for the initiative came about after a member of St Nicholas Church in Kenilworth attended an Advent service at Coventry Cathedral in 2017, where they witnessed a man having a cardiac arrest. Thanks to CPR, the use of a defibrillator and the ambulance service the man’s life was saved.

Going forward, residents Keith Grierson and retired GP Dr Elaine Archibald developed the HeartSafe concept and then developed the project with the support of emergency response charity Warwickshire Hearts, churches in the Kenilworth area, voluntary organisations and Kenilworth Town Council.

KHS is now a group of volunteers, led by Keith Grierson and work under the umbrella of Warwickshire Hearts.

Warwickshire Hearts provides emergency response in support of West Midlands Ambulance Service and it also provides CPR and defibrillator training in the community. It has also trained more than 7,000 people in life-saving skills.

The HeartSafe initiative was launched in September when Warwickshire Hearts trained 24 people including the Kenilworth mayor to achieve a Level 2 CPR/AED qualification. This will allow those trained to help train others.

Speaking about Kenilworth HeartSafe’s launch, Nick Shacklock, chair of Warwickshire Hearts, said: “It’s really great to be working with the HeartSafe Kenilworth team in such an effective and co-ordinated way. As a small local charity we can achieve so much more when we work together with others towards a common goal.”

Following the launch KHS accompanied Warwickshire Hearts to Kenilworth School in October and trained more than 1,400 pupils in basic CPR.

Keith Grierson said: “We did research into the feasibility of installing a defibrillator in church but found that this would not answer the needs of the wider community.

“AEDs are needed which satisfy the following criteria: in a 24/7 accessible case with an electricity supply; registered with the ambulance services and available for emergency calls and operate automatically and be usable with little or no special training.

“There are a large number of defibrillators in Kenilworth but only two satisfy these criteria. One is in reception at the Holiday Inn and the other is outside Abbey Medical Centre in Station Road.

“KHS has commenced an exercise to persuade existing owners to become AED registered with the emergency services, and also to acquire more to provide cover throughout our town.

“The overwhelming message is that we need to raise the profile and general awareness of CPR and AEDs. People make things happen and people save lives so more local people need to be actively involved, so please come and join us.”

Training events will be taking place at the Abbey Medical Centre on March 1 and March 28. To join contact Ryan Smith (Abbey Medical Centre Practice Manager) on 01926 859955 Ext 506 or email Ryan.Smith@abbeymc.nhs.uk

For more information about joining HeartSafe Kenilworth contact Keith Grierson on 01926 855616 or email keith@kenilworthcottages.co.uk