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Honouring our valuable volunteers

Volunteers are at the heart of St John. Every day more than 9,600 generous volunteers help thousands of people across the country by devoting their time to St John’s frontline ambulance service and a variety of community health programmes to support people living well.

The contribution they make to New Zealanders’ health and wellbeing is priceless. St John estimates its volunteers contribute more than two million hours to New Zealand communities, and if it were possible to put a financial value on such support, it would be in excess of $30 million dollars.

“Our big-hearted volunteers deserve to be recognised for their selfless commitment to helping others. They do a tremendous job and we are grateful for all they do. This week we will be thanking them in a number of ways, including events and celebrations throughout the country, to show our gratitude for their contribution to society,” says St John Chief Executive, Peter Bradley.

“St John’s community health volunteers play a significant role in helping to build resilient communities, through programmes that address some of today’s most prevalent issues that affect people’s health and wellbeing. By lending a helping hand, they are enabling New Zealanders to live healthy, independent lives for longer,” says St John Director of Community Health Services, Sarah Manley.

“Our Caring Caller programme has over 800 volunteers regularly connecting with over 1,250 clients who range in age and ethnicity, offering friendship and support to people who may be experiencing social isolation.”

Our 670 Health Shuttle volunteers have helped thousands of Kiwis get to over 77,000 health appointments, facilitating an important connection to primary health, and helping to prevent hospital admissions down the road.

“We are incredibly proud that during National Volunteer Week our Invercargill Health Shuttle team has been shortlisted in the 2019 Minister of Health Volunteer Awards, along with George Wright, who is celebrating his 77th year of continuous community service as a Member of St John,” Mr Bradley says.

St John has more than 850 Friends of the Emergency Department (FEDs) and Hospital Friends who provide comfort and support to patients and their families in hospital emergency departments and waiting rooms. Some patients have no support from whanau or friends, so being able to simply chat or fetch a cup of tea or a blanket can be very reassuring for them.

"It's been fulfilling in a lot of ways. It's satisfying knowing we've helped others,” says St John volunteer FED, Eileen Thesiger. “We've been kissed and cuddled; we've been called angels. We feel a sense of accomplishment of what we set out to do."

“More than 3,290 volunteers also run our St John stores or opportunity shops, manage our local Area Committees, and make a positive impact in New Zealand’s largest youth programme to over 6,100 future leaders,” Ms Manley says.

St John’s frontline volunteers play a critical role in the delivery of our emergency ambulance service. We have more than 3,300 clinical volunteers who are out there every day, responding to emergencies, saving lives and providing clinical care for New Zealanders when they need help the most.

St John ambulance volunteer, Merrin Townley says she loves being out in the community to assist when someone needs an ambulance. “We help a lot of elderly patients who are on their own and without family close by. It's nice being able to reassure them, help them pack their bag and put their mind at ease. I'm on the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) pathway and I'm learning so much. This has become my passion."

St John will be honouring its extraordinary volunteers throughout National Volunteer Week and we encourage all New Zealanders who interact with or know a volunteer, to join with us in expressing our thanks and appreciation.

For more information about volunteering with St John visit https://join.stjohn.org.nz/volunteer-jobs.

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