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A Complete Guide to Defibrillator (AED) Funding For Bowls Clubs in the UK

Sudden cardiac arrest is the most common cause of death in athletes, but it’s rarely ever spoken of unless it happens in the public eye. According to global defibrillator distributors, Aero Healthcare, increased funding and awareness of defibrillators, as well as installation across many more bowls clubs could save a life. Campaigns from The Circuit designed to enhance awareness and availability of defibrillators, and funding opportunities available from Community Heartbeat Trust for bowls clubs, are making this possible.

Since the heartbreaking scenes of Christian Eriksen collapsing on the pitch at the Euro 2020s, defibrillator installations have soared across the UK. With many seeing the successes of CPR and defibrillation on the footballer, communities are now trying to protect their own in the event sudden cardiac arrest occurs. What’s more, it was the realisation that the nearest defibrillator was over 10 minutes away from the scene. And, for every minute that passed, his condition could deteriorate by up to 10% without the help of a device.

Across the UK, bowls associations, golf clubs, local cricket grounds and many more sporting associations and organisations have invested in their own defibrillators. Even local areas are turning their disused phone boxes into defibrillator stations. So, with full, partial and self-funding options available, how can bowls clubs find a defibrillator solution that works?

What are the dangers of sudden cardiac arrest?

  • Around 30,000 people die from it every year in the UK
  • Approximately 84% of cases don’t happen near a hospital or medical setting
  • For every minute that passes, chances of survival drop by up to 10%
  • Men are two to three times more likely to suffer from sudden cardiac arrest than women
  • Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time

What does this mean for bowls?

With its rich history, lawn bowls is enjoyed across the globe, with its own feature in the Commonwealth Games. In Britain, it’s typically played on a picturesque green lawn with rolling countryside enveloping it. Freshly trimmed grass, clean white uniform and even a gentle breeze during the game – it’s hardly the place you’d picture sudden cardiac arrest.

Unfortunately, this complacency can catch many people out. That’s why greater awareness is being spread by Bowls England in a bid to keep its players and visitors safe. With only one in 10 people surviving an out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest episode, it emphasises just how important a defibrillator at our picturesque – often secluded – bowls venues could be. In some cases, if a defibrillator is used within the first minute of sudden cardiac arrest, it could increase survival by up to 90%.

What funding is available for bowls clubs?

£1 million defibrillator fund (England only)

Community groups and organisations could bid for funding, offered by the UK Government, that places life-saving devices within their local area and at their sites. The funding has around £1 million set aside specifically for introducing defibrillators into local communities. With approximately 1,000 defibrillators available, the Community Automated External Defibrillators Fund aims to fit them for community groups, sporting clubs and in local public landmarks.

As part of your bowls club’s application, you’ll need to submit an expression of interest form. You’ll also need to demonstrate that the defibrillator will be placed and located in accessible areas where community groups can use it. For your bowls club, this could be out the front or on the external walls.

Part-funding for Defibrillators by St John Scotland

If you are based in Scotland, your bowls club could benefit from part funding. St John Scotland co-ordinates a successful defibrillator project, supporting community groups, organisations, and local sports clubs in purchasing an AED for their use. Around 25% is funded by St John Scotland, including the cost of the device and its protective case, with the rest stemming from your fundraising efforts.

Defibrillator funding for community groups, including sports clubs

Thanks to pioneering from the British Heart Foundation, fully-funded defibrillators could become available across the UK. This could be happening as soon as October 2023.

You’ll need to apply on behalf of your bowls club, but successful applicants will meet a range of specific criteria as well. If your bowls club shares a hall or grounds with other community groups, you must also apply with their permission and knowledge too. However, installing a defibrillator on-site could work to their advantage too.

Funding will be awarded based on specific criteria including:

  • Defibrillators must be located outside, housed on an external wall or accessible area, and within a cabinet. There should be no need to enter a key or code on the cabinet. This is possible with alarmed cases, designed to deter thieves and alert others when the case is opened.
  • An available electric supply can be used to power the case and ensure the device is kept at optimum temperatures.
  • You have a case and need for the device, which could include the proximity of your second closest device, the age and demographic of site users and even bowls-specific statistics.
  • Any applicants must also demonstrate they’ll receive CPR training as well to further benefit their local community and site users.

Defibrillator grants from the National Lottery

The National Lottery could grant you the funds for a defibrillator and protective case, without you having to meet set criteria or supplement with fundraising. Although this isn’t specifically aimed at supplying defibrillators to the local community, it has awarded more than £500,000 in grants for projects, which can easily be put towards installing life-saving devices within your local bowls club.

Access defibrillator funding and support from AEDdonate

Funding, maintaining and registering a public access defibrillator can be challenging, that’s why AEDdonate has helped thousands of sporting groups in the UK to achieve this. They set up applicants with their own online fundraising page and fundraising pack and provide ongoing support before and after installation.

What’s more, AEDdonate also offers at least £400 of fund to help with the cost of your defibrillator campaign, whilst providing access to free online training for users. The company will then monitor the defibrillator site to ensure they are always live and available to the community.

How will installing a defibrillator save lives?

As studies have shown, a defibrillator could increase the chances of survival by up to 90%. For bowls clubs in particular, their secluded areas and often rural locations mean sufferers have a distance to travel to their nearest hospital. For every minute wasted without life-saving treatment, the survival rate decreases by up to 10%. This demonstrates just how important defibrillators are for bowls club, and how their presence could certainly save a life.