With Scouts across Hampshire returning to outdoor fun and skills for life this week, a group of Scouts from Portchester are returning to find a new piece of kit at the headquarters that could save countless lives.
Over the past two years, the 3rd Portchester Sea Scouts have been working with community groups from across Portchester. The aim? To fundraise for a new defibrillator (A.E.D.) that helps when someone is suffering a cardiac arrest. Plus it's been placed on the outside of their HQ where anyone in need can use it.
It took a lot of coordination to secure this lifesaving bit of kit. Ever at the heart of the community, the money needed to buy it came from across the community. The group raised over £1,000 from a crowdfunding project for the defibrillator; the Portchester Women's Institute boosted it by £600; and nearly £650 from the Alex Wardle Foundation who even covered the cost of installation.
Like all Scouts, the group and their volunteers have had a keen interest in first aid for a long time. They're home to a number of First Aid trainers for the local area and the Scouts at the group love earning their Emergency Aid badges and learning this vital skill for life.
"Being a First Aider could save a life before the emergency services arrive" admits Jessica Barrow, an Explorer Scout and Young Leader at the group. She's not the only Scout at the group who appreciate the skills you learn. Emmy Creen, another Explorer Scout at the group, tells us why it is important to "take some time to learn First Aid and CPR. It saves lives and it works."
Peter Leach, lead volunteer for the group summed up the impact the A.E.D. will bring:
While there are other AED’s in the lower part of Portchester, these are either behind a locked gate or in schools so have limited access. The local Women's Institute had previously helped raised funds for the AED at Portchester Community Hub and this project was proposed off the back of it. We hope it will never be needed but are pleased that it is available and know it has the huge potential to make such a huge difference to someone in need.
So far, feedback has been very positive. Furthermore the group is looking forward to more community projects in the future including working with the Alex Wardle Foundation. In particular, they're excited about a link to the team at Number 4 Boathouse at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. With lots of experience, they may have the skills to help the Scouts maintain their own collection of boats.
In the meantime, the Scouts at the group are just glad to get back to activities at their HQ and perhaps feel better knowing that its not just home to skills for life but also something potentially life changing.
The group and the A.E.D. is located in White Hart Lane, Portchester. Those requiring it should dial 999 who will guide you through how to unlock and use it.
You can learn more about the 3rd Portchester Sea Scouts on their website. Plus their Crowdfunding site has a wealth of information about the group's activities during the pandemic and throughout the project.
Word by Steven Osborn.