The AED just had made its appearance in the Netherlands or the village council of the municipality of Ugchelen was already gathered to see whether neighborly assistance was possible. The village in the neighborhood of Apeldoorn was therefore one of the pioneers of HeartsafeLiving. Five years later, there are about ninety volunteers signed up and the subscribed AEDs at HeartsafeLiving cover almost the entire village.
President Casper van Beek leads in his Ferrari Red Heartsafe Ugchelen Polo the board of the same working group. “I got it from the supermarket DekaMarkt, one of our sponsors,” says the president. He chairs the meetings of the working group, which also includes treasurer Jan Gerrits, secretary Hans Heerding and board members Wilco Schut and Maarten Welker.
However, the instigator of Heartsafe Ugchelen was Wilma Pothoven, who made contact with HeartsafeLiving in 2009. A few months later, on March 29, 2010 Anneke Keijzer of HeartsafeLiving gave a presentation. At the same evening the group was founded.
Heartsafe Ugchelen wanted to create a network of people who can resuscitate to sign up as a HSL-volunteer. Owners of already present AEDs needed to persuade their defibrillator available after opening hours. Owner Andre van den Heuvel of the C1000 supermarket was the first. He purchased an Aviakast from its own resources so the AED could hang outside.
There are now eight AEDs subscribed and available 24/7: from the city hall, two health centers, a supermarket, a church, an individual and two of the housing corporation. Heartsafe Ugchelen itself purchased the ninth AED, by which practically the entire village has coverage. Not yet a hundred percent. For those last few percent it would be ideal to have two additional AEDs.
The recruitment and retention of volunteers in Ugchelen is managed fine. In the village ninety people have registered as volunteer, by which the coverage is fine. “Most of the volunteers had already had their basic training in CPR, for example via their work. Through us all the volunteers get offered a refresher course twice a year,” says Heerding. “That is made possible by our sponsors: a nice number of local traders and even an individual who makes a great contribution.”
Heartsafe Ugchelen initially wanted – as a working group under the village association – no personal financial management. However, the activities of the working group grew so much that independence was a logical next step. “It was agreed that we were allowed to continue to use the city hall for our meetings and trainings,” says Van Beek.
“So we would continue to work without payment. However, on a fair we got a villager pushed a two euro coin in the hands to our good work. Then we suddenly had cash. Jan just stood beside me and I pointed him immediately as treasurer. This, incidentally, worked out very well. Meanwhile we have a proper financial management, with money among other from sponsors that we use for the refresher trainings and the purchase of AEDs and AED cabinets,” says Van Beek.
The earlier mentioned polo shirts uses Hartsafe Ugchelen including for presentations at fairs and other activities. Because being visible creates support. Also online is Heartsafe Ugchelen findable, including on Twitter, Facebook and our own website.