24 September, 2020: Earlier this year, PM Boris Johnson asked Danny Kruger MP to look at ways to make the most of the incredible volunteering spirit we saw in lockdown. As part of his research, he consulted with St John Ambulance.
The report, Levelling Up Our Communities, was published this morning and we're delighted that in it, the vital role of St John Ambulance in supporting the nation during health emergencies such as COVID-19 is recognised. This is the response from our chief executive:
Martin Houghton-Brown said: “St John Ambulance welcomes the overall vision of this report, for volunteers to form a recognised and permanent part of the essential infrastructure of our nation – and are grateful for the hard work of Danny Kruger and Baroness Barran in working with the sector to develop this vision.
“We also welcome recognition of the particular role St John Ambulance has played and will continue to play in supporting the NHS in national health emergencies. The unique skills, expertise and motivation of St John volunteers has enabled us to give vital assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic so far, in hospitals, on ambulances and in communities up and down the country.
“The idea of a National Volunteer Reserve of citizens ready to step forward in emergencies is timely and essential; we look forward to discussing how we can build on St John Ambulance’s role as the health reserve to the nation during this crisis and increase community resilience for the future.
“Furthermore, we would draw attention to the report’s reference to Emergency Volunteer Leave (EVL), the provision that would allow employees to take time off work for critical volunteering without losing income. We are actively engaging with Government officials to unlock EVL and other measures, to support St John volunteers to give the vital hours and days to the level that the nation needs in response to the growing second wave of COVID-19 infections.
“Finally, as one of the country’s largest youth organisations, we look forward to contributing further to the wider debate on how to create opportunities for young people in their communities through volunteering – something we have been doing for a long time and is core to our future community vision.”
To read the full report Levelling up our communities: proposals for a new social covenant click here