Business community gets behind Ilkley’s ambition to be UK’s first town of lifesavers

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Ilkley
(L-R) Steven Charlesworth from The Loafer, Emma Rostock from Eyewear Boutique, Rod Knox from Virtual College and Jo Zezulka from Ilkley Moor Vaults who have all pledged to save a life. Picture: Lorne Campbell / Guzelian

An initiative to make Ilkley the UK’s first town of lifesavers has been launched using a free, online training programme.

‘Prepared to save a life’ is a unique, 40-minute web-based training package launched to businesses this month by Ilkley-based Virtual College. The programme’s aim is to create a ‘life saver on every corner’ in the town by equipping users with knowledge and skills such as CPR, the recovery position and how to deal with choking or bleeding.

The brainchild of Virtual College co-founder Rod Knox, the lifesaving initiative has been trialled by several local businesses including Eyewear Boutique, Fig and Willow and the Loafer Bakery who have pledged to put their employees through the training.

Speaking at the launch in Ilkley this week, Rod Knox said: “We want to inspire all local companies to pledge to save a life by taking the course as there are more than 30,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests each year in the UK. Performing CPR immediately can more than double the chances of survival.”

He added: “We want a life saver in every Ilkley business and ultimately, in every business in the UK. We’re starting the initiative here in our home town by getting local firms pledging their support, signed up and taking the module. We are recording local pledges using a giant thermometer in our Ilkley office window and want to hit 200 by Christmas.”

To accompany the launch of the ‘Prepared to Save a Life’ initiative, Virtual College has launched a powerful video to encourage people to pledge their intent to train and gained the support and approval of Nigel Barraclough, leading paramedic and founder of national first aid training publisher and supplier Qualsafe.

Nigel said: “The Virtual College ‘Prepared to Save a Life’ module is a real breakthrough in teaching the basics of life saving in a visual, dynamic and effective 40-minute programme. Qualsafe is an organisation that specialises in producing lifesaving materials and we’re delighted to work with Rod and the Virtual College team to approve the programme which incorporates all of the key aspects of lifesaving. This initiative starts this month in Ilkley but we would like to see it rolled out to businesses nationally.”

Jo Zezulka, manager at pub and restaurant llkley Moor Vaults, said the team appreciates the urgency of needing to be first aid trained following a recent incident with a customer. She added: “We have trialled the online training tool and it’s been an invaluable resource for our staff who already feel empowered. I would urge all businesses in Ilkley and beyond to pledge to undertake the training and ensure their staff are equipped to act in an emergency and are prepared to save a life.”

Virtual College, with more than 3.3m registered users, has been established for 22 years and works collaboratively with customers and partners to create bespoke content and training which provides a measurable impact in their businesses. As part of its Tech4Good charitable arm, Virtual College has donated more than £300,000 to children’s charities.

Rod = added: “If every business logs onto our free save a life training tool, we can start the education process now and ensure we are all prepared to help save lives.”