Youth club install life-saving heart defibrillator next to popular park in Shrewsbury

A life-saving heart defibrillator has been donated to a popular youth club used by hundreds of youngsters in Shrewsbury.

Young people with the defibrillator and Richard Parkes (back row center) and Ian Middleton (back row left)

The medical device was presented to the SYA (formerly known as the Shropshire Youth Association) in Upton Lane after staff from local business Hartshorne Group raised funds as part of a Healthy Heart campaign.

The defibrillator can be used to restart a person’s heart in an emergency, and it will be available to the community in the immediate area, which includes a Scout and Guide facility and a BMX park.

Richard Parkes, CEO of SYA, said: “We are located near a leisure park popular with young people, so we are very grateful to Hartshorne Group. Young people can sometimes have undiagnosed heart problems, so it’s reassuring to know that we have access to a defibrillator.

SYA supports around 100 youth clubs and organizations across Shropshire, providing age-appropriate facilities which are used by 5,000 children and young people each week, from Year 6 and above.

“We are a registered charity that provides a warm and welcoming environment staffed by experienced youth workers, where young people can talk to suitable adults who will listen and offer support,” Mr Parkes added.

The Hartshorne Group, which supplies and services Volvo commercial vehicles at its Shrewsbury depot in Harlescott, is a long-time supporter of the SYA, having donated funds in the past.

Hartshorne Managing Director Ian Middleton said: “We are very proud to support the excellent work of SYA. Some of our staff have family members who travel to the Upton Lane center and one of our apprentices has also used the facilities before, so we know how important SYA is to the local community.

Hartshorne Group launched its Healthy Heart campaign last year in conjunction with West Midlands Ambulance Service to fund the installation of community defibrillators, which come with voice instructions and can be used by anyone in an emergency. Hartshorne operates nine depots across the Midlands and donates £1 for every hour of exercise logged by staff via an app. They have covered more than 30,000 miles by running, walking or cycling, more than the circumference of the planet.