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Health Volunteering

St John Ambulance NSW Celebrates National Volunteer Week

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National Volunteer Week

This week is National Volunteer Week, an initiative that celebrates the generous contribution of Australia’s volunteers. As an organisation, St John Ambulance NSW has over 3,000 volunteers who contribute around 300,000 hours to their local communities each year.

St John Ambulance NSW volunteers are most recognisable for providing medical, first aid and mental health services at events across the state – ranging from local sporting games to large-scale public events including the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

Last year, St John Ambulance NSW volunteers were deployed to support frontline COVID-19 efforts throughout the pandemic. They provided more than 230,000 hours at quarantine clinics, and airport temperature testing, and played a critical role in the vaccination roll-out.

Most recently, volunteers were stationed in the state’s far north region to assist with the flood crisis, working at evacuation centres and providing medical and psychological first aid.

“We are proud to celebrate the dedication and hard work of our wonderful volunteers this National Volunteer Week,” says St John Ambulance NSW Commissioner Ilan Lowbeer.

“The theme for this National Volunteer Week, Better Together, embodies the core values of St John Ambulance since its inception in 1887. Thanks to the selfless nature and commitment of our volunteers, we have been able to play a key role in keeping our communities safer and building resilience.

David Lam is one of St John Ambulance NSW’s generous volunteers who has provided support at COVID-19 testing clinics and administered vaccinations to the community of NSW over the past 18 months.

David also assisted communities throughout the recent flood crisis. David’s experiences as a refugee inspire his passion and commitment to serving others and ‘showing people that there is hope amidst the chaos.’

Speaking of his decision to volunteer throughout the floods, David said, “I decided to help because I was once a refugee, and I know what it is like to have my place of residence destroyed.

“As a State, we are in this together. I believe with all my heart that the best thing in the world that one can give anyone is time.”

St John Ambulance NSW volunteers also provide wider community services such as first aid training, including delivering first aid training to school students. With the belief that you are never too young to learn how to save a life, the organisation continues to engage with Australia’s youth as they work to raise awareness of the importance of knowing first aid for young people.

The organisation itself has a strong youth contingent, with more than half of their volunteers being under the age of 25. Many of their volunteers start out in the St John Ambulance Cadet program as children and continue volunteering as adults, often with their whole family.

“We would not be able to do the work we do if it weren’t for our volunteers,” says Ilan Lowbeer.

“What unites these individuals is their drive, passion, and commitment to helping others, and Australia is a better place because of them.”

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