On July 8h, Jo Gideon MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central met with St John Ambulance volunteers and cadets to discuss their lifesaving work in the community and celebrate the Unit’s 140-year anniversary.
As Co-Chair of the APPG for Charities and Volunteering, Jo was shown around the first aid and health response charity’s Longton All Services Unit in Hanley to discuss the role of volunteers in the community and the first aid services they provide. Volunteers provided an overview of the history of St John activities in the area, delivered a demonstration of a resuscitation scenario, and talked through different first aid and heritage items.
Jo met with St John Badgers and Cadets including McKenzie Foulkes Regional Cadet of the Year for the West Midlands who joined St John Ambulance when he was just five years old. As Cadet of the Year and an aspiring paramedic, McKenzie has a key role in making sure the voices of young people are heard and representing St John at ceremonial occasions.
St John Ambulance’s Badger (5-10-year-olds) and Cadet programmes (10-17-year-olds), which celebrated its centenary last year, play a huge role in developing the next generation of health professionals and lifesavers. As a youth movement, 1,600 St John Cadets provided over 46,600 hours of lifesaving first aid and care alongside adult volunteers in 2022.
Volunteers briefed Jo on the unit’s latest projects which included strengthening youth leader recruitment to support the charity’s youth programmes (which have 9,000 national participants) and community events to celebrate “Restart a Heart” a national campaign to raise awareness of cardiac arrests and equip people with first aid skills. These activities reflect the charity’s ambition for every young person to be first aid confident by the age of 25.
St John Ambulance trains 250,000 people every year and volunteers provided over 477,000 hours of first aid cover in 2022 enabling thousands of everts to happen safely. Volunteers in Stoke have played their part in enhancing community first aid resilience by delivering first aid training, supporting local events, and providing ambulance crews to support the NHS.
Jo Gideon MP for Stoke on Trent Central said: “I was delighted to meet with St John Ambulance volunteers and cadets to learn more about the array of youth programmes offered to young people and the first aid services they provide in Stoke on Trent. St John volunteers play a vital role in supporting the NHS and local communities”.
“We have all seen them ready to provide first aid at local events. I was interested to learn about the Unit’s recruitment efforts and CPR and defibrillator training events as part of the national Restart a Heart campaign. I congratulate the unit on its 140th year anniversary and encourage people across Stoke-on-Trent to get involved and engage with St John’s work to support communities and save lives.”
Del Lewis Unit Manager said: “We were delighted to welcome Jo Gideon to our Longton Unit and are grateful for his support. St John is best known for its presence at events and providing first aid courses, but we offer so much more than this. Visits such as this give valuable publicity to encourage more young people to get involved.”
We’re incredibly proud of our young people who join Badgers from five-years-old and Cadets from 10, they regularly give up their time to train, fundraise and deliver first aid in Stoke. We are actively recruiting for First Aiders and Youth Leaders who are an integral part of the life of the community, and we encourage people of all ages to get involved and help save lives.”
McKenzie Foulkes, Regional Cadet of the Year for the West Midlands said: “I was delighted to have the opportunity to meet with Jo Gideon MP to discuss our lifesaving work in the community. Since joining St John Ambulance, I’ve moved from badgers to cadets and now has the privilege of representing young people as regional cadet of the year”.
“To any young people thinking of joining St John and learning first aid I would just say do it. It’s the most amazing organisation, you can make so many wonderful friends and learn so many valuable skills which you can take with you for the rest of your life.”