EIGHTY people in Silsden will be trained to use the town’s array of strategically-placed defibrillators.

The Friends of Silsden Town Hall have won a £10,000 grant to pay for emergency first aid courses in the New Year.

The Keeping Silsden Safe training, which will last a full day at the town hall, will be open to anyone aged 14 and above who lives or works in Silsden.

The Harry Beverley Tillotson Charitable Trust is funding the initiative, which will be carried out by the Thinking Big non-profit company.

Graham Arrowsmith, a Friends of Silsden Town Hall trustee, said a key objective was to make use of the four defibrillators positioned around Silsden for emergencies.

He said: “They are outside St James’s Church on Kirkgate, Gloucester Avenue Community Centre, the Bowling Club in the park, and at the football and cricket club on Keighley Road."

There is also a defibrillator at Swimstart on Hothfield Street.

“If you are frequently in Kirkgate, the main street of Silsden, or any of the other defibrillator locations, this training could put you in a position of potentially saving someone’s life.

“Local businesses who send two of more employees to the free training will also get a free First Aid kit.”

The Friends got behind the scheme as part of their plan to help increase participation and connectedness within Silsden in the new improved Town Hall.

“We are grateful to the Harry Beverley Tillotson Trust for funding this important initiative for the residents and businesses of Silsden. It’s their largest-ever grant.

“The course is certificated, which helps improve the prospects for those attending as well as reassuring other residents that people are around who could help in a time of need.”

The Keeping Silsden Safe initiative encourages anyone to participate in training, but people have to be 14 years old or above and have the ability to get on their knees to provide CPR.

Mr Arrowsmith added: “All learners will have the skills and knowledge to provide their organisations, families and the Silsden community with emergency first aid in a prompt, safe and effective manner.”

There will be eight training days, and dates will be announced in the near future on the Silsden Town Hall website.

Mr Arrowsmith said: “Applications are limited to 80 people, so please consider applying as soon as possible. The days will include weekday and weekend dates between January and April 2020.”

Email keepingsilsdensafe@silsdentownhall.org.uk to apply for a place on one of the courses.

Roy Grosschmidt from the Harry Beverley Tillotson Trust was recently accompanied to the town hall by Claire Wright from Thinking Big as he presented the £10,000 grant to Mr Arrowsmith and Friends of Silsden Town Hall publicity coordinator Meghann Clancy.

In 2014, a defibrillator was installed outside the Gloucester Avenue Community Centre, which is owned by the housing association Incommunities.

Craven ward councillors Adrian Naylor and Chris Atkinson made the initiative possible by allocating money from the Keighley Area Committee.

A similar kit had been installed at St James’s Church in Silsden earlier in the year thanks to funding from Silsden Town Council.

At the time, Cllr Naylor said he wanted to see defibrillators sited in other suitable locations in Steeton when funding was available.

The following year local group, Silsden First Responders, offered lifesaving training, thanks to a donation from Silsden Town Council.

The group successfully asked for two CPR machines for hands-on demonstrations, and the authority responded by contributing enough money for three machines.