REDROW is working with Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust to reuse defibrillators from completed construction sites across the region and re-home them within local communities as a lasting legacy.

To kick start the initiative, it has paid for a brand-new defibrillator which has been installed at Sherburn High School, in Sherburn-in-Elmet, North Yorkshire.

Redrow Homes’ Wakefield-based operation was originally contacted by Jason Carlyon, community engagement coordinator at Yorkshire Ambulance Service, to discuss the idea of leaving a life-saving legacy in the cities, towns and villages where it builds.

Sales director Steve Jackson explained more: “This was a great opportunity to explore how we could transfer the defibrillators from our sites to elsewhere in the community and we have worked with Yorkshire Ambulance Service to develop a plan. 

“The aim now for us is that every time a Redrow development is completed, the defibrillator will be donated to the local community. At the moment it’s a Yorkshire-wide initiative but we’re hoping it will be embraced by our colleagues in other parts of the country.”

Redrow has defibrillators at all of its live developments and regional offices across England and Wales, which can be accessed by staff, contractors and the local community in the event of a medical emergency. Redrow has also created an eLearning module about the use of the defibrillators, which is available to all staff.

Jason Carlyon, community engagement coordinator for Yorkshire Ambulance Service said: “I’ve been very keen to get backing for the initiative from housebuilders for some time so I’m delighted that Redrow Homes (Yorkshire) is supporting us.

“As well as agreeing to provide a Community Public Access Defibrillator (CPAD) after the completion of every new development by ‘recycling’ the defibrillators already housed on site during construction, Redrow has also agreed to meet any costs of replacement pads/batteries to make them ‘rescue ready’ once the development is completed.

“We would very much like to see this scheme rolled out nationwide with Redrow and replicated by other housebuilders.”

Fervent defibrillator campaigner Lizzie Jones, whose husband, Rugby League International player Danny suffered a fatal cardiac arrest whilst playing for Keighley Cougars in 2015, has welcomed the new partnership, describing its value as “priceless”.

Lizzie Jones campaigns for defibrillators to be installed at all sports pitches, schools and colleges, and the Danny Jones Defibrillator Fund founded in her husband’s memory has helped hundreds of community clubs and teams across the country to purchase a defibrillator. She also works as an ambassador for the ‘Restart a Heart Day Campaign’, which was started by Yorkshire Ambulance Service and its partners in 2014 and now trains thousands of schoolchildren every year to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). 

Welcoming Redrow’s initiative, Lizzie said: “Defibrillators are life-saving machines and everyone should know where their nearest machine is located. As an ambassador for the life changing initiative that is ‘Restart a Heart Campaign’ I couldn’t be happier to learn about Redrow’s decision to leave a defib at the heart of each community it builds in Yorkshire. Not only will that community be safer but its children will know how and be confident to hopefully save someone’s life one day. Redrow will give that community the best chance of life and that is priceless.” 

With the defibrillator at Redrow’s Saxon Gardens housing development in Low Street, Sherburn still currently in use, Redrow agreed to buy a brand-new one for Sherburn High School along with a cabinet, and this has now been installed outside the school gates using £500 raised by members of the Lady Popplewell Centre in Sherburn. 

John Wagstaff, Site Manager at the 790-pupil school, commented, “The Lady Popplewell Centre approached us saying they’d like to help us purchase a defibrillator at almost exactly the same time that we learned about Redrow’s donation. It was perfect timing, especially as we’d been trying to get funding for a defibrillator for a couple of years. The school has been involved in the Restart a Heart Day campaign for some time and recognises the value of CPR and public access defibrillators.

“We’ve had advice from Yorkshire Ambulance Service on where exactly to position it and it’s now been installed just outside the main gates so that it can serve the whole community not just the school. The new defibrillator is powered and monitored by the school but whether our gates are open or closed it can be used in an emergency.”

Redrow construction sites earmarked to donate their defibrillators in the coming months include Springfields in Highburton, near Huddersfield, which is currently drawing to a close. Talks are underway to potentially relocate the existing site defibrillator to the neighbouring tennis club.  

A site defibrillator from The Green at Horsforth Vale, in Horsforth, Leeds, is due to be re-homed at an existing sports pavilion within the development and, in addition, residents belonging to Horsforth Vale Community Group are raising funds for a second defibrillator that will be installed at the local convenience store. 

Redrow is also looking for a suitable community location for a defibrillator that will shortly become available from its Lancaster Mews development in York.  

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