A NEW lease of life has been given to the ‘beating heart of the community’ in Southbourne as a new defibrillator has been installed.

The life saving defibrillator was installed on the Southbourne Crossroads public toilets on Tuesday morning as part of an ongoing project by Ricky’s fish and chip shop to give back to the community.

As part of the project Ricky’s have also commissioned the ‘Gods of The Sea’ mural on the toilet block by Bournemouth artist Krishna Malla aka Tech Moon.

Ricky Knowlton, owner of Ricky’s, said: “It is going to become such an iconic building so people can know exactly where to find the defibrillator.

Bournemouth Echo:

Defibrillator fitted on Southbourne Crossroads public toilets mural

“It’s bringing something back to the community and the funding was there so it was a perfect opportunity to spend it on something that would benefit the whole community young and old because you just don’t know when you’ll be in a position when you need it.

“The response to the project has been amazing - there was a bit of an outcry when the whitewash went on - but as Krishna got on with the work they saw something evolving coming.”

Ricky’s were awarded Bounce Back Grant funding through BCP Council and have chosen to celebrate the community of Southbourne with a portion of the money - the council also granted permission for the mural and defibrillator on the toilets.

BCP Council's deputy leader, Philip Broadhead said: “We’ve been really keen as part of the £160 million of grant funding that we’ve given out throughout Covid to make it about more than helping people survive but to help businesses bounce back and to help our whole area move forward.

Bournemouth Echo:

Cllr Philip Broadhead and Ricky Knowlton at Southbourne Crossroads public toilets mural

“To see this project come to life it’s given a whole new definition and meaning to the building and the word iconic has been used - it’s really given a beating to heart to what is already a fantastic area here.”

The community defibrillator is available to all members of the public 24 hours a day. It is registered with the ambulance service so in a life threatening emergency the caller can be given the access code and told how to use it.

Cllr Philip Broadhead said: “Independent’s are the future and only a few years ago this was an area with lots of empty shops and now it’s got a new lease of life.

“It’s not just about getting by, it’s about making our area as world-class as it can be.”