Newcastle Building Society installs life-saving equipment at Sunderland branch

The North East’s largest building society has installed a defibrillator at its branch in Sunderland after partnering with a regional children’s charity.

Working with The Red Sky Foundation, Newcastle Building Society positioned the device outside its branch on Waterloo Place in the city, making it easily accessible to the public.

After raising funds of over £2,000 to purchase the defibrillator, The Red Sky Foundation worked with the Society to agree the best central location for the lifesaving device.

Sergio Petrucci, founder of The Red Sky Foundation and organiser of the Red Sky Ball, said: “To put it simply, the greatest benefit of having access to a defibrillator is that they save lives.  Using a defibrillator may increase the chance of survival from around 10% with good effective CPR, up to possibly 60-80% with a defibrillator at hand for immediate use.

“It’s thanks to companies like Newcastle Building Society – who act as guardians to regularly check these units – that we’re able to help more people in worst case scenarios.”

A defibrillator sends an electric shock to the heart so that it may beat to its normal rhythm – which is vital in the first few minutes. Early use gives a person in cardiac arrest the best chance of surviving and supports paramedics in their response.

Stuart Fearn, head of customer contact at Newcastle Building Society, said: “We’re delighted to work with the Red Sky Foundation to fit the new defibrillator outside our Sunderland branch. Although it’s a first for the Society, we’re committed to supporting our communities and with a growing network of 31 branches in central locations across the North East, North Yorkshire and Cumbria, we know we’re well placed to help, and we really appreciate how vital these pieces of equipment are.”

After daughter Luna received life-saving cardiac treatment, the award-winning Red Sky Ball was originally created in 2016 by Sergio and his wife Emma as a one-off fundraising event for the Children’s Heart Unit at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.

The Red Sky Foundation was recently awarded full charitable status, continuing its aim of supporting patients of all ages needing cardiac care across the North East. Having already donated over £350,000 through the defibrillator fund, the organisation most recently made a bulk purchase of defibrillators for Covid-19 wards at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

Newcastle Building Society’s Community Fund at the Community Foundation has previously provided grants for defibrillators for other community locations across the North East and Cumbria. In the past two years, grants for this purpose have totalled £6,800.
For more information on The Red Sky Foundation, visit or email  or to discover more about the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund go to

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