Community effort sees life-saving device installed in phone box

Members of Geldeston Village Composting Group, the parish council, village hall committee and member

Members of Geldeston Village Composting Group, the parish council, village hall committee and members of the community at the launch of the defibrillator. Picture: Loraine Loffstadt - Credit: Archant

A redundant village phone box has been turned into a life-saving facility thanks to a team of recycling volunteers.

The community defibrillator has been installed in the phone box outside Geldeston village hall, funded through the work of the Geldeston Community Composting Group.

The group is celebrating ten years of collecting garden waste and turning it into compost. And by diverting nearly 120 tonnes away from landfill or treatment, the scheme has raised more than £5,500 in recycling credits.

The money has been put towards a range of community projects, from building bird boxes with local children to the new defibrillator.

Village hall chairman Loraine Loffstadt said: 'The arrival of a community defibrillator in Geldeston is the result of a true community effort.

'The Geldeston Community Composting Group are volunteers whose aim is to recycle villagers' garden waste into useful compost. Every week for about six months of the year waste is collected and taken to the composting site where it is sorted, weighed and then processed in purpose made bins. Norfolk County Council then give credits for the weight of compostable material collected and processed during the year.

'These funds are directed toward projects that benefit the village and, with the full support of the Geldeston Parish Council, have made possible the purchase of the defibrillator.'

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The village hall committee became aware earlier in the year that the phone box was becoming redundant and under threat of being removed, so members contacted BT who transferred ownership to the village hall.

Mrs Loffstadt said: 'Saving this iconic kiosk not only protects a little piece of our local heritage but offers a central and accessible home for the defibrillator.

'Village volunteers spent many hours over the autumn months lovingly refurbishing the kiosk in readiness for its new role and made generous donations toward the purchase of specialist paints and other materials.'

The group currently has around 14 volunteers who collect green waste from 31 households.

Gloria Barker and Marcia Fenwick, who were instrumental in starting up the scheme, said: 'We are so proud of what we have been able to achieve as a group, and the income that we have earned from Norfolk County Council has allowed us to offer practical support to Geldeston projects.'

The defibrillator can make a crucial difference before an ambulance crew or community first responder reaches a patient who is in cardiac arrest.

And the village hall committee will be holding sessions in the New Year to show residents how to use the device.

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