St John volunteers hailed as ‘silent superheroes’ of Covid

VOLUNTEERS for St John Ambulance Jersey have been the ‘silent superheroes’ of the pandemic, the charity’s chief executive has said as she commended the thousands of hours worked by her staff in aiding the Island’s Covid response.

Commissioner of operations Micki Swift and chief executive Sarah Harman outside St John Ambulance headquarters. Picture: James Jeune (31014267)
Commissioner of operations Micki Swift and chief executive Sarah Harman outside St John Ambulance headquarters. Picture: James Jeune (31014267)

Sarah Harman said there was a huge amount of ‘unrecognised’ work being carried out by the first aid organisation, particularly within the last 14 months.

And since it was opened by the government in December, Ms Harman said St John Ambulance staff had provided about 2,000 hours of support at the Island’s vaccination centre in addition to their other responsibilities.

She said: ‘I think it’s really important that people understand the amount of work and how much the charity has been a real silent superhero in this pandemic – it has really stepped up – as have lots of charities, it’s not just St John.

‘It just shows the Island’s community spirit when something like this happens, and you actually rely on so many other organisations that run solely on donations – like we do – to come to the fore and assist.’

Like many charities, Ms Harman said St John Ambulance had struggled with fundraising throughout the pandemic and reminded Islanders that it relied primarily on donations from the public.

She said: ‘Ultimately our first port of call will always be to go to the public to help us with donations and through our other fundraising activities, but everything we do around the commercial side [of things] is just the drive for what the volunteers do. We don’t make a profit from the things we do.’

Commissioner of operations Micki Swift said the ongoing work around Covid-19 had been ‘one of the most rewarding things’ she had done in the 40 years she had worked for the charity.

She said: ‘We started driving with the swab teams initially, so going out with the nurses on home visits to swab members of the community. Following on from that we were involved in the antibody testing and since then we’ve also been going up to the vaccination centre. We’ve been covering a few shifts at the Ambulance Service just to help with their requirements when they were in need of us.’

She added: ‘We do public events all year round but actually to go out there and give something back when we are needed and when we are actually required in a pandemic has been great. I think everyone from St John Ambulance who has gone and done anything in the pandemic is really proud of being able to do something.’

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