St John Ambulance launches £6m emergency fundraising appeal

20 Apr 2020 News

Alex Davies, a St John volunteer at NHS Nightingale and one of the people featured in the appeal.

St John Ambulance has launched an emergency appeal to raise £6m “to ensure our survival”, according to its chief executive.

The charity has launched a fundraising appeal as it steps up its work supporting the fight against the coronavirus crisis, which it says involves the biggest deployment of staff and volunteers since the second world war.

Money raised through the appeal will ensure the charity can do more to support people during the crisis as well as plan for its role after the pandemic.

St John Ambulance recently warned that it could run out of money by August due to cancelled fundraising activity. It is one of the charities to have been promised some additional funding from the government.

'Saving lives together'

The appeal includes a series of short videos, which will be aired on television and shared on social media with the hashtag #savinglivestogether. 

The first video features Alex, a volunteer ambulance volunteer for the charity who has been working at the new NHS Nightingale Hospital at ExCeL London. In the video Alex says that “as well as our ongoing work, St John Ambulance will be significantly increasing its provision of service over the next few months to fight coronavirus”.

Martin Houghton-Brown, chief executive of St John Ambulance, 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.”  

Saving reserves

Last week, Houghton-Brown raised more than £2,200 for his charity when he livestreamed shaving off his beard.

The appeal will complement emergency funding to help cover the charity's core costs, which St John Ambulance will receive as part of the government's coronavirus package for the sector. "It is our understanding that this [government funding] will be sufficient to slow the attrition of our reserves for at least the next three months,” Houghton-Brown told Civil Society News.

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