A PIECE of vital life-saving equipment has been installed at a Basingstoke community centre after a successful fundraising campaign.

Councillor Roger Gardiner, Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane, unveiled the new defibrillator which is located on a wall at Viables Community Centre, in The Harrow Way.

A fundraising campaign for the machine was launched by Viables Community Association in December, and generous donations from residents and users of the centre raised the £2,300 needed to buy the defibrillator.

Around 30 people, including groups which use the community centre and a representative from South Central Ambulance Service, attended the official unveiling of the equipment, as did Daniel Mead, from BGS Electrical Services, who installed it free of charge.

In order to use the defibrillator in an emergency situation, people will need to call the emergency services, who will provide a code to access the machine. Step-by-step instructions are inside the machine to help people use it correctly.

Staff and volunteers at the centre and staff from craft companies will also be invited to receive training on how to use the defibrillator.

Claire Wareham, association manager at Viables Community Centre, told The Gazette: “It is an amazing piece of kit. We have placed it outside the community centre so it can be used by everybody, and we are going to promote it to the community and housing estates to inform them that if they need it, that is where it is.

“It is not something that we would ever want to use, but it is there and simple to use. People have said what a wonderful idea it is, and it is something that all public spaces should have.”

Cllr Gardiner added: “We are really pleased Viables Community Centre is one of the first centres in the north of Hampshire to have an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).”