NEARLY every eligible parish and town in West Oxfordshire has applied for funding support to purchase defibrillators under a scheme to help roll out the life-saving devices across the area.

The Council has offered to fund 50 per cent of the cost - up to £900 - to support local communities to purchase their own Automated External Defibrillator (AEDs).

AEDs are proven to dramatically increase the chances of survival in the case of cardiac arrest and can be used with no previous instruction or training as the equipment is designed to tell users exactly what to do.

An anonymous donor has already gifted devices to 24 communities in the district and the council is offering the financial support to the remaining 30 parishes and towns.

Funding applications are now being processed after nearly all have expressed an interest in joining the scheme.

Councillor Mark Booty, Cabinet Member for Health at West Oxfordshire District Council, said: “We are delighted with the response and will be getting the ball rolling with the funding as soon as we can. "Most of the anonymously donated defibrillators have now been installed and we are keen to get devices in place everywhere else as soon as possible.

“Defibrillators are of vital importance in a rural District like ours and we believe this scheme will make West Oxfordshire one of the safest places to live if you suffer cardiac arrest.”

The District Council has been working on the scheme with South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) which will be providing training to raise awareness about the devices.

Dick Tracey, divisional responder manager for SCAS, said: “When someone goes into cardiac arrest time is of the essence.

“Having these machines, particularly in the villages, will significantly increase chances of survival.”

Some local towns and parishes have already fundraised to provide an AED, including Chipping Norton.