St John Ambulance ‘faces challenge, not emergency’

A LACK of volunteers – the ‘backbone’ of St John Ambulance – is probably the most serious challenge currently facing the charity, according to its chairman.

David Le Quesne, Knight Commander, St John Ambulance. Picture: JON GUEGAN. (26194814)
David Le Quesne, Knight Commander, St John Ambulance. Picture: JON GUEGAN. (26194814)

David Le Quesne said that while the charity had recently been making annual losses year on year, it was in a strong financial position.

The comments come after Barry Marsden, the charity’s chief executive, said that it might last for only another two years because of diminished cash reserves.

Mr Marsden spoke about the organisation’s finances and appealed for donations and sponsorship. He said that the organisation had around £300,000 left in the bank. In 2012 their bank balance was close to £1.2 million.

However, in a bid to reassure Islanders that the charity was not at risk of shutting down, Mr Le Quesne said: ‘The whole picture, given in our latest financial statements, for the year ending 2018, shows we have reserves of £905,339, of which most is held in investments and £331,765 is held in cash.

‘We have properties in Jersey valued at £900,861. This is a strong financial position.

‘Our chief executive is right to sound a warning, but I do assure you and your readers that St John Ambulance Jersey is not going to fold.’

‘We have, indeed, been making a loss each year, but our annual losses are relatively small in the light of our substantial reserves.

‘Our board and volunteers understand that we cannot continue to make a loss and draw upon reserves, which is why we are reviewing the way we run the charity and what

we do.

‘We need to recognise the changing needs of society in Jersey so that both potential donors and the States see that we deserve support. This is a challenge, but not an emergency, and we are making changes.’

Mr Le Quesne added: ‘There are certainly serious challenges facing our charity: perhaps the most serious is the lack of volunteers.’

The charity, one of the oldest in the Island, does not receive any government support.

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