THE North East Ambulance Service is offering to help communities mend broken hearts across the district with funding for new community defibrillators.

In a bid to increase the number of defibrillators in the community, NEAS and the North East Ambulance Service Charitable Fund are offering £500 funding and support to community groups in 60 target areas of the North-East.

Villages around Tynedale have already benefitted from the scheme with defibrillators introduced at Mickley, Ovingham, Haydon Bridge, Whitley Chapel and Hexhamshire.

A defibrillator is a significant investment for any community and the NEAS charity is inviting anyone in the key areas to apply for £500 funding towards the total cost of approximately £1,500 to purchase one.

Community development officer Alex Mason said: “We know that only 8.7 per cent of patients who had resuscitation attempted on them survived to be discharged from hospital. When a heart stops beating, oxygen is not being transported to the brain and other vital organs, and within four to five minutes, brain damage will start to occur without intervention.

“A victim’s chance of survival falls by around seven to 10 per cent with every minute that defibrillation is delayed. We regularly call upon the hundreds of community defibrillators already installed in the region to support our patients whilst an ambulance is travelling but even more in these target areas will help to cover the areas where people might not already have early access to the right equipment."

The North East Ambulance Service Charitable Fund is set up to support staff, volunteers, patients and local communities.

Chairmam of the North East Ambulance Service Charitable Fund, Douglas Taylor, added: “We want to encourage people throughout the region to apply for a community defibrillator if the location falls within one of the key target areas.

"The push for more defibrillators throughout the region is to support community groups to reach a defibrillator in time, if someone is in cardiac arrest to increase their chance of survival.”

Village groups can apply for funding online and view a map of all the current defibrillators throughout the region at