A Teesside charity has used a cash donation to buy a new piece of kit that could help to save lives.

Hartlepool & District Hospice successfully applied for £958.80 from a community benefit fund set up by EDF Energy Renewables, which owns and operates the Teesside offshore wind farm off the coast of Redcar. 

The hospice put the money towards an automated external defibrillator (AED), which will be based on site to treat patients, visitors and nearby residents should they suffer a sudden cardiac arrest.

The equipment is a welcome boost to the local community following the closure of the Accident and Emergency unit at Hartlepool Hospital, which is situated next door to the hospice.

Tracy Woodall, Chief Executive of Hartlepool & District Hospice, said: “We have debated for many years about the appropriateness of an AED in the hospice as many people pass through our doors: patients, visitors, staff and other professionals. It is essential that if someone suffers a cardiac arrest we are able to provide swift intervention with an AED. Despite good CPR, in most cases, resuscitation without an AED will prove to be unsuccessful.

“Having an AED at the hospice could save a life. That’s why we are so grateful for the support of EDF Energy Renewables; without it we would have been unable to purchase the defibrillator.” 

More than 70 staff and 200 volunteers work for the hospice, which provides free specialist palliative and end-of-life care for adult patients in Hartlepool and east Durham.  It costs £2.3m a year to run it but only 24% of this amount is funded by Government grants; the rest needs to be raised through fundraising initiatives or donations from individuals and organisations.

Mark Halliday, Operations and Maintenance Manager for the Teesside offshore wind farm, said: “The hospice provides a vital service within the local community and we are happy to support it through the community benefit fund. 

“Having a defibrillator on site at the hospice could make a real difference to someone in urgent need of help and those providing it and for that reason alone it has been money well spent.” 

EDF Energy Renewables has supported more than 40 local projects and activities through the Teesside Offshore Community Benefit Fund, which was launched last year by the company in partnership with the Tees Valley Community Foundation.  Through the scheme, community groups on Teesside are eligible to apply for financial support for projects, activities and events that benefit local people.

The Teesside offshore wind farm was officially opened recently. It comprises 27 turbines, with a capacity of over 60MW of low carbon electricity – enough to supply the average annual needs of approximately 40,000 homes*. 

* Based on DECC and Digest of UK Energy Statistics figures