Thursday 22 March 2018

A real centre of excellence

Fiona O’Riordan, representing Whitechurch Community, receives the Irish Heart Foundation Heartsafe Award
Fiona O’Riordan, representing Whitechurch Community, receives the Irish Heart Foundation Heartsafe Award

WHITECHURCH Community Centre has had its dedication to heart safety commended with a major national award.

The Community Centre is at the heart of Whitechurch and its facilities cater on a daily basis for an ever-growing population and a wide variety of sporting and community groups, and it has been given the 'Heartsafe' award standard by the Irish Heart Foundation.

The Centre has trained over 100 community members of Whitechurch in CPR skills and how to use an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) over the past six years.

The achievements of the Whitechurch Community Centre were celebrated when the volunteers received the prestigious Irish Heart Foundation 'Heartsafe' award on Saturday last.

By achieving the 'Heartsafe' award standard, Whitechurch Community Centre has strengthened the 'Chain of Survival' in responding to cardiac emergencies in their community.

The facilities of the centre contains a sports hall, community hall, meeting rooms, tennis courts, outdoor astro pitches, playground, rugby pitch, two GAA pitches and community field and is adjacent to the National School.

The Centre has an AED on site and has three instructors who have provided training within the site and also to members of the wider community.

The instructors conduct training and refresher sessions for the group on a twice monthly basis and work closely with the Irish Heart Foundation by also raising awareness, fundraising and supporting events to ensure the 'Heartsafe' scheme is available.

The Centre hopes to use the achievement of this award as the first step to setting up their own Whitechurch Community Response Group linked to the ambulance service in the coming years.

Barry Dempsey, Chief Executive of the Irish Heart Foundation said that the organisation is delighted to present this award to Whitechurch Community Centre.

"They have shown incredible dedication in achieving this award and I have no doubt that their actions will help to save more lives.

"Unfortunately in Ireland, about 5,000 people die from cardiac arrest each year. But thanks to the efforts of the Whitechurch Community Centre, more people will have a better chance of survival," he said.

The Irish Heart Foundation's Heartsafe Community Programme encourages all communities, schools, workplaces, healthcare facilities and towns/villages to strengthen every link in the 'Chain of Survival'.

The chain is made up of four stages - call 999 or 112, start early CPR, early defibrillation and early advanced care in hospital.