Scottish Government Shows Support for New SFSA Campaign to Improve Grassroots Access to Defibrillators

Date: 26th December 2021

Scotland’s national independent fans organisation, the SFSA, is launching a campaign to increase the number of defibrillators at its member clubs, in a bid to help save more lives from cardiac arrests.

The initiative is backed by Scottish Sports Minister Ms Maree Todd who made available an additional £250 grant for clubs, which will be available from 1st January 2022.

According to the British Heart Foundation, there are around 3,200 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in Scotland every year. Efforts to improve survival mean that one in ten people now survive such an event, compared to one in twenty in 2015. Continued efforts could improve this even further

Ms Maree Todd MSP said:

“In 2015, only around 1 in 20 people in Scotland survived a cardiac arrest. Through the delivery of the Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Strategy (2015-2020), that has now increased to 1 in 10.

This is excellent progress but there remains more to do. The refresh of the Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Strategy set out our aim of equipping a total of 1 million people in Scotland with CPR skills by 2026 and increasing the number of out of hospital cardiac arrests which have a defibrillator applied before the ambulance service arrives from 8% to 20% .

We continue to focus on improving access to defibrillators to ensure that they are publicly accessible, registered and placed in areas where they are most likely to be used. Schemes such this really support these key aims and I am delighted to be able to provide £25,000 in financial support to help grassroots football clubs purchase defibrillators.”

SFSA Ambassador John Collins said: “I feel that it’s important for me to show my support for this campaign which can only be a good thing for our national game. We’ve seen recent high profile incidents at football matches where lives were only saved due to defibrillators being to hand on site, however this isn’t the case for many grassroots clubs and facilities as of yet.”

SFSA Chairman Andrew Smith said: “From an SFSA perspective we’re delighted to announce this campaign. There are plenty areas in which our grassroots game can be improved and that will be the focus of a lot of our upcoming work. Of course participant safety and wellbeing is paramount, therefore helping to improve access to defibrillators was the perfect place to start.”

See to begin the application process for your club.

James Jopling, Head of BHF Scotland, said: “A cardiac arrest is one of the most serious medical emergencies. Every minute that passes without CPR or defibrillation reduces the chances of survival by up to 10 per cent in some instances, but immediate CPR and defibrillation can more than double the chances of survival.
“That is why it is so important more people have the opportunity to learn CPR and that defibrillators are easily accessible and available to the public in these critical moments. It could help save a life.”

For more information on the British heart Foundation please visit:

The SFSA is Scotland’s only fully independent supporters organisation, open to fans from all clubs at all levels of our national game. A non-profit voluntary organisation and a community interest company with over 76,000 members, the SFSA works with fans, clubs, football authorities and the Scottish Government to make Scottish football better for everyone, with supporters at the very heart of it. See the SFSA website for more information:

Sports Minister Maree Todd MSP presents the Defibrillator to James Mather Captain of GSR Central Academy, an under 17 team who play in the Central Scotland Football Association League

Former Scoitland star John Collins and Former First Minister Henry McLeish supporting the scheme

For further information on The SFSA please contact Paddy Hainey at or call on 07702 252519


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