Give it a go! You will learn CPR, and information on every day and emergency first aid topics to share with local organisations and community groups. Together, we will build confident, more health resilient communities.

St John Community Advocates

A Community Advocate is a fantastic local, flexible volunteer opportunity, providing your community with first aid knowledge and confidence to act. Community Advocate sessions are a great way to ensure local groups, clubs and organisations have access to short informal sessions, where they will receive up to date first aid information, discuss and challenge myths, and feel confident they could recognise and respond to an emergency.

St John Ambulance is inclusive, and we are keen to ensure all Community Advocates are welcomed, supported, and feel valued. Our volunteers will reflect the diversity in our society, celebrating lived experience and growing our knowledge.

To engage and respond to the needs of local people, we need volunteers who understand the communities they will meet.

What? Community Advocates deliver first aid information sessions with the principle aims of providing skills, challenging myths, and growing participants’ confidence. Free community sessions can be delivered virtually or in person (adhering to social distancing guidance).

Where? Community Advocates have held sessions in community centres, sports halls, youth group buildings, and faith meeting places. Sessions are informal, there are no requirements of prior learning or literacy, and do not contain any assessments or practical elements, so it is fully inclusive for all.

Value? Community Advocates develop knowledge and skills in first aid, confidence in presenting and speaking, networking with local groups, and increasing their awareness of local health related issues. The community have an increased awareness of the health care services available, enabling people to become proactive health citizens, improving the health outcomes of themselves and their family. By using the right service, NHS can easier meet patient needs and ensure the most urgent cases are treated as priority.

Impact? The positive impact for communities has been proven, participant feedback confirms a greater understanding of first aid, increased ability to recognise and respond to every day first aid needs, and significantly improved confidence to react in an emergency.

What could you do as a Community Advocate?

Your role is to raise awareness of the importance of first aid, increase confidence by addressing misconceptions and myths, so people feel competent to recognise and respond appropriately to situations they may come across.

You’ll be sharing information and resources to the public and delivering sessions to community groups, you may know or discover, local to you.

Advocates may have the option to attend their local St John volunteer unit. This is a great opportunity to gain more skills, grow wider topic knowledge and confidence, meet other volunteers, and attend community events.

“I enjoy delivering community first aid sessions, as people feel able to ask questions and leave feeling much more confident.” Graham, 62, Community Advocate

What will you receive as a Community Advocate?

St John Ambulance will provide all the training and support you need to inspire others to gain first aid skills. No previous experience, certification, or training in first aid is required. This is a non – clinical volunteer role, so you will not be treating patients or physically need to demonstrate first aid techniques.

  • First Aid Training: Community First Aid for all ages (including AED). Online modules covering all topics part of the community sessions. Opportunity to learn and show CPR skills with an accredited St John Ambulance Trainer. (Certificate valid 3 years).
  • Volunteer Induction and Community Advocate Training: St John Ambulance new volunteer welcome presentation will give you insight into the organisation, its history and current opportunities and activity. Community Advocate training is an online session, delivered by the Community Engagement Team, giving an overview of the session content, first aid resources, processes, skills development, and support.
  • Uniform: St John Ambulance Polo Shirt, ID Badge
  • Community Advocate Resource Pack: Everything you need to feel confident to prepare, deliver and reflect on your sessions.
  • Digital Access: St John Ambulance Intranet, e-learning platform, Microsoft O365 account with email address.
  • Recognition: Certificates to celebrate the milestones reached for session delivered.

This is a flexible volunteering role. You will give the time which suits your lifestyle, work, family, and other commitments. We know each session makes a positive difference to an individual, family and community. Growing the numbers of Community Advocate volunteers across the country, together we will create a wave of first aid confidence.

“Everyone learns something…and doing something is better than nothing! First aid is a skill for all, regardless of age, ability, language or race.” Yasmin, 29, Community Advocate

Exciting news

17th June 2021. Today, St John Ambulance launches a new partnership with NHS to deliver a programme to increase CPR skills and AED access and use. The aim is to identify where local hotspots are and where the reach of skills sessions can be improved – in terms of location and the communities’ demographic. Focus will be on reaching a more diverse range of communities, including socially isolated, vulnerable, and seldom heard groups who are often more at risk or have higher health inequalities.

This programme will raise the knowledge, understanding and willingness to perform CPR should it be required, specifically in those communities most affected by cardiovascular disease.

By creating a CPR Army of 300 Community Advocates, across all NHS Ambulance Trusts, we will be:

  • championing the importance of first aid
  • encouraging everyone to learn CPR and how to use defibrillators,
  • improve the response to cardiac emergencies.

which can help to save many thousands of lives.

“If more people had the confidence and skills to call 999 quickly, deliver effective CPR until the ambulance crew arrive, and use a public access defibrillator, the number of lives saved would double." Professor Powis, National Medical Director of NHS England

Join the National Coordination of First Response

This initiative aims to increase the chance of survival for people in England who go into cardiac arrest outside of hospital.

Find out more