A wide variety of individuals work for St John either as staff or give up their time and skills to volunteer, and the organisation relies on all of them to provide a wide range of services for the community.
Heather Lucas has been an Ambulance Reservist for 11 years and has also been a Voluntary Care Assistant for the last four years helping with the non-emergency patient transfer service.
‘It was the year that the Tsunami struck on Boxing Day and I thought then how maybe I should look to become a volunteer because you never do know when an emergency can happen, then a few weeks later I saw an advertisement for St John volunteers and decided to sign up.’
Heather says she volunteers with St John because it gives support to the Ambulance service who provide valuable service to the community. By day she works as a Trust Accountant in the International banking industry but loves the community aspect of her voluntary role.
‘I do most of my hours with the Ambulance Reserve transporting non-emergency patients for treatment at the hospital. This enables patients to get home straight after their sessions are finished without having to wait for the full time ambulance crew to find a slot. If they are busy which they often are, these patients would not be a priority. Our voluntary reserve crews can take the strain and we know the crews are grateful that we do.’
Heather has recently been recognised as the member who has clocked up the most hours as a volunteer for the Emergency Ambulance Service transporting patients.
‘I have worked for 154 hours and I am on duty three evenings and Saturday lunchtimes.’
Heather continues to update her first aid skills and is trained to deal with major emergencies and she still volunteers for public duties.
‘Being part of St John is rewarding and enjoyable and for me, I enjoy meeting patients on a one to one basis, making friendships and knowing that I do make a difference to them. ‘
It’s all a far cry from her day job as a trust accountant, though she explains, nursing is in her family. She has enjoyed many experiences but says one of her most memorable experiences with the Ambulance Reserve was a major incident which her team attended.
‘A boat had crashed on the rocks outside St Sampson’s harbour so we were involved in rescuing casualties and assisting with their transfer to A&E.’
‘My mum and sister were nurses and I did nursing for a year before changing career but volunteering has given me this back into my life. It is a juggling game as I do have a family and a full time job but I love it and would encourage people to do the same.’
‘We really do need more volunteers particularly for the non-emergency transport side of things. We are always looking for new people so I would ask people to think about it, you will enjoy what it gives you back too.’
We are grateful to the Guernsey Press for use of the imagery and text which were published in January 2017.