St John: Working to help the community

It provides a wide range of services which help improve the lives of everyone in our community, but how much do you know about St John Ambulance Guernsey? We found out more about the work of the local charity...

ST JOHN is perhaps best known for the work of its volunteer first-aiders, who can be seen in their light green uniforms on duty at local sporting and community events.

Many local events simply could not take place without first-aid cover from St John. But did you know the charity provides a lot more besides this?

In addition to the event first-aiders, St John also operates a cycle response unit with a team of trained volunteers who can rapidly respond to medical emergencies in large crowds, such as Liberation Day or at linear events over a large area, such as the marathon or Rocquaine Regatta.

St John Ambulance Cycle Response. (29147525)

The charity also has an active youth section made up of Badgers, for children aged five to 10, and Cadets, for young people aged 10 to 18. Badgers and Cadets take part in a range of activities to develop their personal skills, leadership and self-confidence.

Learning first aid is also a big part of the Badger and Cadet programme and many youth members go on to join the adult volunteers or follow a career as a paramedic, nurse or doctor.

St John Ambulance Badgers. (29147511)

Community first responders are trained St John volunteers equipped with an AED and oxygen, who are alerted by the Joint Emergency Services Control Centre (JESCC) to respond to cardiac arrests and other serious medical emergencies in their immediate vicinity and give life-saving treatment in the minutes before the ambulance arrives.

In a cardiac arrest every minute counts and early CPR and defibrillation can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.

St John Cadets. (29147515)

The St John volunteer ambulance reserves also support the Emergency Ambulance Service in times of major incidents.

The volunteers, who come from a variety of backgrounds, train in patient care and first aid, driving and radio communications. Reserves also take part in exercises to keep their skills up to date.

Volunteer Ambulance Reserves. (29147535)

The charity operates a library which has a selection of large and standard print books available for people who are unable to access other libraries. Not only does the library have parking right outside the door, but a dedicated team of volunteer librarians and drivers deliver books to care homes and private houses, often providing essential social contact for users of the service. The library at the Rohais is open every Tuesday afternoon.

During the first few months of the coronavirus pandemic, St John Ambulance Guernsey quickly identified and responded to the changing needs of islanders. The charity set up a delivery service for people in isolation who needed medical prescriptions and urgent groceries. St John volunteers were also involved with the bottling and distribution of the locally-produced Seaweed Hand Sanitiser.

Volunteer Ambulance Reserves. (29147537)

St John took on the coordination of numerous offers of help from islanders and worked with the Community Foundation and the Association of Guernsey Charities to manage the island-wide volunteer effort.

A team of caring callers was also set up and is still running – this aimed to give those who were isolating and feeling lonely someone at the end of the phone to have a chat.

Community First Aid. (29147519)

Social isolation is an issue, regardless of Covid-19, and something which is often overlooked because we live in such a small island. St John is continuing this service and hopes to expand it by working with other charities.

A team of volunteers also established a decontamination team, which was trained to deep clean frontline ambulances, freeing up paramedics to respond to other emergencies. The volunteers came in day and night to help and the image of the team in their green overalls, white aprons, face masks and visors is one that is a vivid reminder of the coronavirus pandemic and of lockdown in Guernsey.

St John Ambulance First Responder. (29147522)

The St John marine ambulance, the Flying Christine III, is crewed by volunteer coxswains, engineers and navigators from the local marine community. This group of skilled mariners leave their workplace during the day, or their beds at night, to work alongside the full-time medical teams from the Emergency Ambulance Service. The Flying Christine III was built thanks to fundraising by islanders and continues to operate thanks to sponsorship and charges.

All of the services mentioned rely entirely on fundraising, donations and sponsorship. Unlike the St John Emergency Ambulance Service, which is part-funded by the States of Guernsey, the St John Ambulance Guernsey charity doesn’t receive any funding from the States of Guernsey for the services it provides, so the support of individuals and businesses is vital. People can support St John by making a donation or by organising or attending a fundraising event. Businesses can get involved with corporate sponsorship, either for a specific project or piece of equipment or for general funds.

St John Ambulance. (29147529)

St John Ambulance Guernsey is part of the Commandery of St John in the Bailiwick of Guernsey. Although the local charity is part of the International Order of St John and enjoys a close relationship with St John Ambulance in England, the Bailiwick Commandery operates independently. That means the money raised in Guernsey stays in Guernsey.

St John Training Services runs first-aid courses suitable for the workplace and the community. Specially designed courses are available for parents and carers, people with boats and those involved with sporting activities. The training team also deliver first-aid training in school. St John Training Services is a not-for-profit organisation and any profits are put back into the charity.

St John Ambulance First Aid. (29147527)

The St John Healthcare Shop supplies wheelchairs, scooters and other mobility products as well as Stannah stairlifts and Stiltz homelifts, which can help remove barriers around the home and help people live in their own homes for longer. The friendly and experienced staff can advise on simple steps to make life a little easier. The shop also stocks first-aid kits and a wide selection of healthcare products. Proceeds from the shop support the work of the St John Ambulance Guernsey charity.

St John Badgers. (29147513)

St John Ambulance Guernsey has a small team of paid staff, but the charity relies on a big team of dedicated volunteers who give their time to help improve the lives of everyone in our community. Collectively, the unpaid volunteers give thousands of hours a year.

  • Anyone who wants to support St John can email, call 01481 727129, or donate directly here.

St John Ambulance Guernsey (29161405)

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