15th Aug 2023

Penny Mordaunt MP thanks St John Ambulance volunteers in Portsmouth for teaching lifesaving first aid skills

On 14th August, Penny Mordaunt MP for Portsmouth North and Leader for the House of Commons met with St John Ambulance volunteers and cadets to discuss their lifesaving work to enhance first aid resilience in Portsmouth.

Penny visited the first aid charity’s Portsmouth Event Services Unit to discuss the role of local volunteers in the community, the first aid services they provide and opportunities to support the Unit as it celebrated 125 years of service to the city during the Covid pandemic.

Volunteers provided an overview of the history of St John’s activities in the city including providing first aid at Portsmouth Football Club, local festivals, and schools. As the nation’s ambulance auxiliary, volunteers provide first aid training and deploy ambulance crews to support the South Central and Isle of Wight Ambulance Services to reduce NHS pressures.

Cadets delivered a demonstration of a resuscitation scenario and training on how to use an Automated External defibrillator. Every year, 30,000 people experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, yet fewer than 1 in 10 survive. Empowering local communities to learn first aid is vital to improve survival rates as CPR and defibrillation can increase survival chances by up to 40%.

St John Ambulance’s badger and cadet programmes play a huge role in developing the next generation of health professionals. In 2022, 1,600 St John cadets providing 46,600 hours supporting first aid operations. Penny was briefed on plans to open a new NHS Cadet unit, a joint programme with NHS England designed to support the future NHS workforce andreflect the charity’s ambition for every young person to be first aid confident.

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 events to happen safely. This work aims to keep communities safe and help save lives.

Penny Mordaunt MP for Portsmouth North said:

“I would like to thank volunteers from St John Ambulance for inviting me to learn more about their lifesaving work in Portsmouth. I was pleased to learn more about the first aid services they provide, and the role volunteers play in supporting the NHS and local communities.

We have all seen them ready to provide first aid cover at events across Portsmouth. I was interested to hear about the Unit’s desire to grow the number of volunteers and opportunities for young people to develop the next generation of lifesavers.=

We know every second counts when it comes to health incidents such as cardiac arrests that’s why it’s vital, we train more people in first aid to respond to health emergencies and boost the chances of survival. I encourage people across Portsmouth to get involved with St John Ambulance’s work to keep communities safe and help save lives. 

“I also want to see the UK capitalise on the huge interest in volunteering during the pandemic.That is how we will become the most resilient nation.”


Wendy McCormick Unit Manager said: “We were delighted to welcome Penny Mordaunt MP to our Portsmouth Event Services Unit. We are best known for our presence at events and providing first aid courses, but we offer so much more than this. Visits such as this give valuable publicity and encourage more people to support our lifesaving work.

Right now, we are actively recruiting for Adult Volunteers and Youth Leaders. The youth and adults are an integral part of the life of the community in Portsmouth. We encourage people of all ages to get involved and help us save lives.” 

Alex Thompson Regional Commissioner for the South East said: “I would like to congratulate our incredible volunteers in Portsmouth for everything they do in serve their local community and enhance first aid resilience across Hampshire.

“It was a pleasure to welcome Penny Mordaunt MP to our Portsmouth Event Services Unit to learn more about St John Ambulance’s work and our ambition to provide pre-hospital care and education services that have the greatest impact on the nation’s health.

At St John, we believe Community First aid Saves Lives, that’s why we are looking at how as a trusted auxiliary to the national health services and local communities, we can respond, educate, and lead standards in community first aid to help save lives.”

To find out more about St John Ambulance’s clinically trained volunteers and their work please visit www.sja.org.uk or contact [email protected]

Picture: Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP meets with volunteers and cadets at St John Ambulance’s at Portsmouth Event Services Unit