Peter Woff, secretary for TRACC, by the new defibrillator

Life-saving defibrillator makes villagers feel ‘cared for.’

A life-saving defibrillator has been installed in Cornsay Colliery village thanks to a grant from County Durham Community Foundation.

Funding of £2,667.83 from the ESB International West Durham Windfarm Community Benefit Fund through the Foundation has helped The Residents’ Association of Cornsay Colliery (TRACC) to make residents feel safer in case of an emergency.

The association reformed last year, with committee members old and new rallying to care for the community through lockdown and beyond.

Clare Metcalf from TRACC said: “All of the villages around us have a defibrillator and we are on a very steep hill. It’s important that we have one for emergencies, but the feedback we’re getting is that it makes the older residents feel cared for.”

Peace of mind

Peter Woff, secretary for TRACC, will manage a team of volunteer guardians, trained to look after the equipment, while a second team of volunteers will train with the North East Air Ambulance to use the equipment in case of an emergency.

After a resident vote, the defibrillator will be fitted outside local business, North East Remaps.

Margaret Vaughan, chief operating officer at County Durham Community Foundation, said: “It’s really wonderful to see this village working together and we are so pleased they have been able to put this grant to such good use. Hopefully they will never have to use this equipment, but it will give residents peace of mind.”

Lynn Hughes from TRACC added: “We can get cut off by the snow and I think it makes some of our residents feel quite anxious. Projects like this help them see that the residents’ committee can help look out for them.”

Strong communities

TRACC is closely aligned with the village’s only pub, The Royal Oak, which has traditionally provided a Christmas dinner for some of the older villagers each year. Due to lockdown, the committee arranged funding so that the pub team could make and deliver festive meals instead.

A Facebook account has been alerting residents to fraud and scams, prompting people to fill in a village questionnaire, sharing good news and inviting people to bring out the bunting for special occasions; while the committee is now producing and delivering two regular publications so that those who don’t use the internet know all the news.

Lynn said: “Now there is quite a lot going on and we know there’s more we can do. We’ll be looking for new members and volunteers this year. It’s all about moving the village forward and achieving our priorities.”