St John Ambulance to close a third of buildings to tackle Covid-19 debts

St John Ambulance has announced “significant cost-saving measures” as it looks to secure its long-term future.

A total of 117 of its 352 buildings, that it leases or owns, will close immediately. This represents the majority of those properties earmarked for closure, with a further review scheduled for the autumn.

The decision has been taken due to the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the charity’s finances. This includes the halting of its main income streams, first aid training and event cover, during the pandemic.

“We have not taken this decision lightly – we know our buildings represent more than just a physical presence in communities,” said St John Ambulance’s chief executive, Martin Houghton-Brown.

“However, we have a duty to continue serving these communities by responding to their health needs and it is with regret that we have to reduce our estate to shore up the charity’s future.

“As part of this process, I will be exploring, with St John people, how we evolve to still meet and serve communities. Whether that’s using technology to better connect with people or finding partners in the community who would welcome St John, we will find new ways to continue our life saving work now, and for many years to come.”

St John Ambulance aims to retain and improve its remaining buildings to maximise their impact for the community.

It also plans to ramp up its use of online meetings and use technology more to grow its volunteer numbers.

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