Ruth Edwards and campaigners from the West Bridgford Colts have welcomed a £1 million fund to help community groups buy defibrillators, which was announced by the Government this week.
This follows a campaign started by the Colts, to improve access to defibrillators in honour of their teammate Dylan Rich, who suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed on the football pitch in September 2021, dying 3 days later in hospital. Since then, they have been working with Ruth Edwards to try and reduce the upfront cost of these life-saving devices that can see survival rates increase by as much as 70% if used within the first 3 minutes of an incident.
Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, Ruth asked then Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to meet with the Colts to discuss ways to reduce the costs of defibrillators. A few weeks later Ruth was joined by West Bridgford Colts Chairman, Peter Stansbury, and coach Paul Wilson in Downing Street to make their case in more detail and to tell the Prime Minister about Dylan’s story.
Boris Johnson was deeply sympathetic to the need to improve defibrillator access and asked Treasury ministers to work with Ruth on the issue.
Work on the campaign has continued this year, with Ruth holding a debate in Parliament and meeting with organisations involved in installing defibrillators in communities such as the Community Heartbeat Trust, to learn best practices. Ruth also met with the Chancellor and the Health Secretary and hosted St John’s Ambulance in Parliament, where they provided CPR training for MPs and highlighted the importance of defibrillators.
“I am delighted that we have reached this important milestone in the campaign. This funding will make the difference in whether a community group or sports club can afford a defibrillator, which could be the difference between life and death for someone.
The next step is to make sure the funding goes as far as possible, and listen to the lessons from industry experts so we can get as many of these vital devices out into communities as possible and I look forward to continuing to work with ministers on this.”
West Bridgford Colts Chairman Peter Stansbury said:
“West Bridgford Colts are really pleased to see that the government is providing additional funding to support access to life-saving defibrillators.
Following the tragic death of Dylan Rich we have, along with Ruth Edwards MP and others, campaigned for more funding & accessibility to defibrillators and are delighted to see this come to fruition”