Tenants, visitors and cafe users are set to benefit from the news that Cornerstone House Centre’s community-owned building is to be fitted with a brand new life-saving defibrillator in the coming weeks.
Cornerstone House, a large, modern, multi-purpose community hub venue in the heart of Cumbernauld, is used by over 50 organisations from across the public, private and voluntary sectors and regularly sees 40,000 citizens pass through its doors every year.
From this summer, courtesy of a generous donation from Cumbernauld Community Forum, a state-of-the-art defibrillator will be available for full-time use in the facility in the event of an emergency. The move is part of Cumbernauld Community Health Information Hub‘s programme to protect and enhance the health and wellbeing of all local citizens.
A defibrillator is a medical device that restores a normal heartbeat by sending an electric pulse or shock to the heart. It is used to prevent or correct an arrhythmia, a heartbeat that is uneven or that is too slow or too fast. Defibrillators can also restore the heart’s beating if the heart suddenly stops.
Crucially, having a public access defibrillator available can be life-saving for those in cardiac arrest, with chances of survival dropping by 10% for every minute without CPR or access to a defibrillator. By using a defibrillator before an ambulance arrives, it can significantly increase someone’s chances of survival.
The critical importance of defibrillators was available for all to see recently as Danish footballer Christian Eriksen had his life saved with one after suffering cardiac arrest on field during the recent UEFA European Championship football tournament. Mary McNeil, Development Manager at Cornerstone House Centre, commented:
“To help someone who is in cardiac arrest effectively, a defibrillator needs to be found as quickly as possible.
“Cornerstone House is accessed by thousands of people for recreation, education, business, dining, exercise, worship and much more, so having a defibrillator permanently installed just means we are looking after everyone.
“Staff and volunteers of Cornerstone House Centre and group leaders of tenant organisations are being fully trained in how to operate the defibrillator in the event of someone taking seriously ill on the premises.
“When The Centre is open, there will always be at least one person on site that knows how to access and apply the defibrillator in the event of an emergency.
“Whilst it’s one of those things we hope that we never have to use, we do hope that it will provide some extra reassurance and confidence to people attending or utilising the building, particularly those experiencing health issues.
“We are extremely grateful for the kindness and support of Cumbernauld Community Forum, who have gifted the defibrillator from unspent funds of Cumbernauld Gala Day, which sadly had to be cancelled in 2020 and 2021 because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.”
The implementation of a defibrillator will be advantageous to many client groups that visit Cornerstone House on a regular basis, including local children and families, older people, people with disabilities and long-term health conditions, people facing mental health challenges, people with sensory impairments, unemployed people, people on low income or living in relative poverty, Christian people and asylum seekers.
Organisations which will gain from access to the machine include, amongst others, Cornerstone Cafe, Cornerstone Christian Fellowship, Bethlehem House of Bread Food Bank, Partners In Play, ACH Dance Company and Musical Theatre, Phoenix Futures, Slimming World and Caroline Jane Dance Academy.
The defibrillator news is the latest in a range of positive developments for Cornerstone House, a former bingo hall that had become derelict until Cornerstone Christian Fellowship took up tenancy in the late noughties. Since 2010, the building has been radically transformed through the management of community anchor charity Cornerstone House Centre.
It has developed a reputation as an established, highly regarded community venue which has helped Cumbernauld flourish, supporting local citizens to be healthier and happier and assisting residents to thrive economically, socially and culturally. In 2019, with the backing of Scottish Land Fund, the building was successfully purchased as a community asset with a vision to meet the needs of the people of Cumbernauld.
As well as acquiring its own defibrillator, Cornerstone House Centre has been active in helping other groups across Greater Cumbernauld in securing vital medical equipment.
In February, the organisation awarded Chryston Community Council a grant of £1,032 through Cumbernauld CAN (Community Anchor Network)’s Small Grants PB Fund Round 2 initiative to purchase and install a defibrillator for use in the hamlets of Mollinsburn, Crowwood, Muirhead, Chryston and Mount Ellen. The new defibrillator is now based in the local taxi office, which is open 24 hours a day, and has the potential to benefit people suffering heart malfunction living in any one of almost 3,000 homes.
Other venues in the vicinity to house a defibrillator include Broadwood Stadium, The Children’s House in Cumbernauld Village and The Coachman Hotel in Kilsyth. More defibrillators are set to be fitted locally as 2021 progress thanks to further investment from Cumbernauld Community Forum.
Cornerstone House’s defibrillator will be registered with The Circuit, a national network of defibrillators which is maintained and publicised by British Heart Foundation. To view a short video on how to use a defibrillator and why they are so important in community settings, click here.