An exciting new project has started up in Harris with the launch of the Heartstart Harris team.
The Heartstart project initially started in Harris back in 2011 when Dominic Tooley and his team from NHS Western Isles came down and delivered a course on basic life support (BLS) and first aid.
This course was organised by Morag Munro and the Harris Voluntary Service.
Since then a number of courses have been held training members of the community in these skills. These courses were predominantly run as part of a youth training scheme run by the local Fire Service.
Earlier on this year retired businessman John Murdo Morrison secure funding from The Harris Charity Shop and The Cathy Macleod Trust to provide a number of defibrillators for the community from Ross Cowie and the Skye based charity Lucky2Bhere.
One of these defibrillators has now been installed outside the shared entrance to the Harris Sports Centre at Sir E Scott School, West Tarbert. Others are hoped to be installed in Scalpay, Leverburgh and West Harris with an objective of covering as much of Harris as possible with this provision.
In order for these defibrillators to be installed, training has to be provided. This is of fundamental importance that communities are empowered through training before defibrillators are put into these areas.
Heartstart Harris consists of members of the community that have come together after receiving training to become trainers, through Skye based charity Luck2Bhere and members of Heartstart Skye this training was delivered by Pam Gowie and Peter White from NHS Highland.
Heartstart Harris have now successfully applied to the British Heart Foundation to enable them to start delivering Emergency Life Support training with Defibrillator awareness to members of the community.
Heartstart Harris will now be involved in delivering this training to the local high school to ensure all pupils leaving school will have done at least one Heartstart course with defibrillator training added on.
Western Isles Council, through the Sport and Health Department recently announced that they are now in partnership with Lucky2Bhere in putting defibrillators in all Sports Centres in the Western Isles from the Butt to Barra.
Tony Wade, Sport Facility Manager for the Western Isles and CNES is spearheading this project and was invaluable in helping the formation of Heartstart Harris by providing lifeguards as experienced candidates already trained in emergency situation and giving them time off to attend this training.
This is just another step in all these organisations coming together and being part of the long term aims of saving lives in Scotland through defibrillator provision and training.
If you require any more information on this please contact The Lewis and Harris Sports Centres or look up the Lucky2Bhere website.