If you’ve arrived here, you’re probably curious about what St John Ambulance did in one of the most extraordinary years any of us have faced. And we’re incredibly grateful you asked.
The big answer is that we stood tall with the nation and used every skill and resource at our fingertips to help communities across the country during the Covid 19 pandemic.
From heart wrenching moments of loss through to inspirational stories of hope and connection, St John people have risen to the challenges and met them head on. It hasn’t all been smooth sailing, facing an overnight halt to our training and event operations meant difficult decisions have had to be made, but through it all, it’s been our people that have shone through.
Come with us as we share the highs and lows of an extraordinary year.
You can read a detailed report of 2020 in our Annual Report.
January - March 2020
An emerging pandemic
14,000 hours of winter pressure to support the NHS
100s of public events took place safely because of the first aid cover we provided
Over 60,000 people trained in first aid
Our Ambulance Operations were rated 'good' by the Care Quality Commission
The nation locks down
Crisis response structures put in place
NHS relationships agreed
Specialist Covid Care training developed and 375 trainers trained
April - June 2020
Covid's first wave
Over 4,000 volunteers trained in Covid care and logistics transformed
Difficult financial choices
Resilient and compassionate St John people
250,000 hours of frontline response in ambulances, hospitals and communities from April - December
July - September 2020
Helping the return of live sport
Supporting the safe return of the night-time economy
Helping the NHS to catch up
Ensuring the safe return of first aid training at work
October - December 2020
A growing second wave
Increasing demand for ambulance and hospital volunteers
Planning for up to 30,000 vaccination volunteers
400 volunteer vaccinators trained
New fleet designed by St John volunteers and made possible by generous donations
At the start of the Covid-19 outbreak, I made the really difficult decision not to go home to my family but stay in my student house. I decided to stay because I knew I wanted to help.
I saw what a big effect I could have on people by doing quite small things. I didn’t feel as though I was doing anything special – I was just looking after people the way I’d want myself and my family to be looked after if we were in the same position.
Mary Strutt, 23, Volunteer in Southampton Hospital
I didn’t think twice about doing it; I knew I had the skills to make a positive difference. I was doing four 12-hour shifts in a row, followed by four days off... The biggest challenge was being in someone’s house and having to take the patient to hospital, knowing their relatives may never see them again.
Zain Osmani, 26, Ambulance Crew in Brighton
I joined St John Ambulance in October 2020. I am an Operational First Aider, which in usual times would mean events but all I've known is COVID.
During the pandemic, I wanted to help in hospitals to try and alleviate some of the pressure on the NHS. My experience of working shoulder to shoulder with the staff there has been really positive.
Ask me why I volunteer? It brings a great sense of satisfaction to help someone in need. My day has been brightened so many times by laughing with a patient while treating them, or being able to do small but meaningful things, like making an end of life patient a last cup of tea.
Caspar Michie, 21, Operational First Aider
how your donation will save lives
As a charity, we rely on donations from the public. Our work with young people and with volunteers would not be possible without your donations, every day we empower people of all ages with lifesaving skills and confidence to use them. Your donations help to make this training possible and help to ensure volunteers have the vehicles and equipment they need to deliver lifesaving first aid in the community.
Whilst mass participation events were unable to go ahead, our fundraisers have been very creative, finding new ways to support St John and engage with their communities.
Through our work with young people we are seeking to engage with disadvantaged communities and in 2021, we will be exploring how best to strike the balance between delivering and learning from this to educate for the future. Our goal is to bring life saving skills to communities where they’re most needed whether through existing Cadet and Badger programmes or newer NHS Cadets, Young Responders and Health Citizens schemes.
We continue to deliver our vital support to the NHS and communities through both ambulance, hospital and community response volunteering and our key role in supporting the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
As the country returns to normal you’ll also see our familiar green uniforms all over the country, at events, concerts and in city centres after dark.
And over 2021-22 we’ll be seeing a steady roll out of our new Ambulance fleet. Innovations based on feedback from our volunteers are built in to these new vehicles, with driveability and useability two of the main features. The vehicles will replace an aging fleet, reducing our carbon footprint and giving people greater access to our services.
First aid really does save lives.