Urgent call for mobile phones could save lives


PAULA HULBURT/STUFF

Unwanted mobile phones will help students and staff at Riverlands School, from left, Pipi Bell,11, Hana Berry,12, principal Dave Parsons, Maggie Dodson, 12, and Lily Neal, 12, save points towards an AED device.

Unwanted mobile phones could help kind-hearted students from a Marlborough school save lives.

Staff and pupils at Riverlands School have been long-term staunch supporters of a recycling scheme where obsolete mobile phones are swapped for reward points.

The school has been saving hard to earn enough points to have an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) fitted at the semi-rural Blenheim location and hopes the local community can help out.

Unwanted mobile phones are needed by Riverlands School so they can recycle them in return for reward points to put ...

DAVID W CERNY/SUPPLIED

Unwanted mobile phones are needed by Riverlands School so they can recycle them in return for reward points to put towards getting a defibrillator.

Principal Dave Parsons said while there were other AED devices in the Riverlands area, most were too far away to be easily accessed in a life-threatening emergency. 

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The school has the highest tally of old mobile phones collected in the country, having collected 3326 phones to date.

Since they first began in 2010, hundreds of old phones have been donated and sent to a national collection centre where the phones are recycled by RE:mobile in exchange for school reward points.

But this time, instead of saving-up for IT equipment, a self-training AED device is top of the school’s wish list.

“We originally joined to support Starship Hospital. We had a student knocked off her bike 10 years ago by a truck who was flown-up to Starship. Luckily, she survived. 

“The programme began with Starship Hospital receiving the proceeds of the campaign and in 2016 The Sustainable Coastlines Charitable Trust become the new charity benefactors.

“The AED is the most expensive item on the rewards at 1000 points. Our current point total is 676 so we do need to improve our collecting stats and get more phones collected, and we hope the community might be able to help,” said Parsons.


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The nationwide stewardship scheme programme is operated by Swapkit and accredited by the Ministry for the Environment.

“It doesn’t matter how old the phones are, what condition they are in or what brand they are. They all count.

“As part of our first aid training staff here know how to use a defibrillator. Sadly, it’s not just older people who may need one and we want to be in a situation to help,” said Parsons.

Unwanted mobile phones (without chargers) can be dropped-off at Riverlands School on School Rd during opening hours or at the Marlborough Express office at 62 Arthur St, Blenheim.


 – The Marlborough Express

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