17 April 2020: St John Ambulance today launches a multi-million pound fundraising appeal to support its role in the fight against COVID-19 and secure the charity’s future.

Since the outbreak of the virus in the UK, the national health and first aid charity has backed up the NHS by providing ambulance crews, plus highly-trained volunteers to work in hospitals up and down the country, including the NHS Nightingale Hospital in London.

But during its biggest deployment since the Second World War, the charity needs to raise at least £6 million to keep going.

The Government has committed core funding to support St John’s work during the current health emergency, but public support will enable the charity to stretch its essential contribution further and for longer – including continuing its role in supporting the nation’s health beyond the end of the pandemic.

St John Ambulance’s chief executive, Martin Houghton-Brown said: “While the Government’s contribution is an extremely welcome boost during this crisis, we still rely on the public for significant funding to ensure our survival.

“As with many charities, Coronavirus has stopped the activities that would normally bring in income; our first aid training and event cover, along with big fundraising challenges have all been cancelled.

“People are so used to seeing our teams quietly caring for people at football matches, concerts and marathons that it’s easy to forget the vital role St John people play in the life of our nation.

“Today, St John Ambulance’s response to the health needs of communities and support for the NHS have never been more relevant or urgent. Thousands of our people are stepping forward to help and our resources are stretched like never before.

“With the generous help of the public right now, we can keep saving lives together.

“I hope everyone will dig deep and support St John so that we can be here for everyone through this crisis and for many years to come.”

The charity’s emergency appeal includes a series of short videos in which St John Ambulance volunteers describe their roles on the frontline in the fight against COVID-19 before asking the public to donate.

They will be broadcast on TV and shared on social media from today using the hashtag #SavingLivesTogether

In addition, St John volunteers and members of the public are being encouraged to take part in fundraising activities that are in line with official Government guidance on social distancing and self-isolation.

Mr Houghton-Brown raised over £2,200 shaving off his beard live on social media, last Saturday (April 11) and many more volunteers have launched fundraising appeals online.

To donate £10 text SAVE7 to 70577 or to find out more about the emergency appeal visit www.sja.org.uk/savelives