Six volunteer-run groups have shared £5,000 from a new community fund set up by The Wigley Group to support individuals and groups based within a five-mile radius of its headquarters.
The largest share of the first of two rounds of funding in 2021 will pay for an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) which will be located in a phone box in the village of Stockton, where the company is based.
The installation and maintenance of the defibrillator and the phone box will be funded by Stockton Parish Council, which will also pay for villagers to be trained to use it.
A defibrillator is a device that gives a high energy electric shock to the heart of someone who is in cardiac arrest.
Figures from the Community Heartbeat Trust suggest this year 30,000 people will suffer sudden cardiac arrest and approximately 95 per cent of those will die before reaching hospital. With an AED in the community, the survival rate could be as high as 50 per cent.
Villager Sue Coutts recently moved back to the Stockton where she grew up, and with the support of the parish council and Councillor John Emberton has been seeking funding to get a defibrillator installed there since the death of her father who suffered a cardiac arrest.
Sue said: “A defibrillator is vital to a village like ours because the nearest hospitals are 9.5 miles and 14 miles away. I’m not sure whether it would have saved my father’s life, but it did highlight how important this potentially lifesaving piece of equipment can be. It’s thanks to the generosity of The Wigley Group that we can now buy one for Stockton.”
Long Itchington Brownies have been awarded £300 to buy tents and other camping equipment; Long Itchington Scout Group gets £631 to buy some hammocks and to service its camping gas cooker; and Marton Over 60s Afternoon Tea will use its grant of £600 to pay for the hall hire and refreshments for the next 12 months for its group of volunteers who bring together elderly residents of Marton and surrounding villages of Birdingbury, Leamington Hastings and Hill for a free afternoon tea every month.
Rubbish Friends Southam has been awarded £980 to buy new litter pickers, hoops, and builders’ buckets, and to pay the liability insurance of the adults and children who meet monthly to keep the town tidy and to improve the environment for wildlife; and Stockton Village Hall gets £589 towards the cost of rewiring to ensure it remains safe to use for community activities, functions and groups, and as a base for the Stockton News.
The Wigley Community Fund was set up at the start of 2021 with individuals and groups based within a five-mile radius of its headquarters in Stockton invited to apply to the new fund twice a year: in March and September.
James Davies, Chief Executive Officer of The Wigley Group and chairman of the Wigley Community Fund, said: “As a company, we’re very proud to support a number of charitable organisations through events held or supported by our own staff, as well as larger corporate events such as our annual Golf Day.
“But we wanted to add to this activity by establishing a fund dedicated to the good causes and organisations in Stockton and surrounding villages, and it is with great pleasure that our first round of funding is able to help six groups, all of which very different but equally important roles in their communities.
“We look forward to receiving applications for the next round of funding in September and to find out even more about the important work that is going on in the communities around us that we want to be a part of.”
The Wigley Group has evolved from its beginnings as an agricultural plant hire company that was established in 1964 by John Wigley, father of the company’s current chairman, Robert.
It now has a significant portfolio of property and landholdings, and associated businesses in development, construction and strategic land, and has been based at Stockton House in the Stratford-on-Avon District of Warwickshire since 2019.
Find out how to apply to the Wigley Community Fund here.