JOIN members at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic
With infection numbers rising, increasing lock-downs and significant anxiety about the Omicron variant, the pandemic seems far from over. Our members keep working tirelessly facing the situations in their respective counties. To date, St John Ambulance's Vaccination Volunteers have provided more than 800,000 hours of their time for the roll out the COVID-19 vaccine delivery programme. As winter begins and England faces the increasing threat of extreme weather, St John Ambulance continues to play its role in supporting the National Health Service to respond. Many JOIN members work for communities on the frontline of COVID-19, including work in hospitals, on ambulances, helicopters, in centres and accommodations, ever since the pandemic began. Read more about the support of our members here.
Johanniter Austria and Germany organise Christmas truckers alternatively
The 20th November marked the start of the collection of parcels for people in need in Southeastern Europe by our Austrian and German members. Within the frame of 'Weihnachtstrucker' (Christmas truckers), parcels have been driven and delivered by Johanniter volunteers in close cooperation with their local partner organisation in the target countries since 1993. The parcels can be packed by everyone with listed food and hygiene products to reach disadvantaged families, schools and kindergarten, people with disabilities, soup kitchens, old people's homes and children's homes. Due to the persisting COVID-19 situation, parcels are sent via a forwarding agency and distributed by their local partner organisations in the countries. Johanniter Germany also cooperates with food aid in Germany and offers the opportunity to pack a parcel virtually.
News from the Members
Denmark: fundraising concert for homeless people
On 9th November, our Danish member held a fundraising concert in the Holmens Church in Copenhagen. Pieces by Bach, Haendel, Vivaldi and Haydn were performed by organ and two trumpets making use of the wide church room. This was the sixth time that Johanniterhjaelpen held its annual fundraising concert, and the number of participants and donations set a new record. The church is made available for these concerts at no cost. Likewise, the musicians, who are acclaimed in Denmark and internationally, performed for free. The full revenue from ticket sales, as well as donations, were passed to 'Morgencaféen', an institution which provides various free services for homeless people, such as food, hygienic facilities, doctors and nurses, and occasional legal advice.
England: watch the ‘Ask Me’ campaign stories
The new brand campaign of St John Ambulance called 'Ask Me' involves volunteers and their individual stories of how first aid enabled them to save a life. All over England, more than 2,000 posters and billboards feature portraits of volunteers and patients with quotes that invite the public to ask them about their real-life St John experiences. Many of their life-changing stories are now available as videos. You can find out more via the Ask Me page and watch the stories of 15 people here.
Germany: Johanniter Luftrettung takes new helicopter into service
On 24th November, Johanniter Luftrettung took a new helicopter into service. With the new H 145 helicopter from Airbus Helicopters, the fleet now meets every conceivable requirement in airborne rescue and intensive care transport. The smaller, lighter and quieter machine has a state-of-the-art autopilot system and has five rotor blades instead of the usual four - these ensure a more stable and calmer position in the air, which benefits the patient's well-being. The machine is equipped with the latest technology, and the interior layout has also been revised to enable the emergency physician to act more flexibly during the flight. The generous window arrangement does not only give the pilots an optimal view, but the entire interior of the machine has a brighter, larger and more open appearance. Read more (in German) here.
Germany: Johanniter reopened emergency overnight shelter in Berlin
On 1st November, Johanniter in Berlin reopened its emergency overnight shelter for homeless people. Our German member has been involved in this initiative for several years, offering protection to homeless people. More than 200 volunteers are active to alleviate the plight of homeless people in winter. The emergency overnight shelter can accommodate about 80 guests, with the entire second floor reserved for a total of 26 women. Twice a week, Johanniter also offers a medical consultation hour at the shelter aimed at people who do not have health insurance. Read more (in German) here.
Poland: Joannici organises Christmas parcel action for children
Our Polish member co-organises the charity action 'A Gift for the Christmas Tree' that brings Christmas parcels to children in need in Belarus, Romania and Ukraine. During the action that is now running for the twenty-first time, parcels were also sent within Poland to reach disadvantaged children in the past. Everyone can participate by preparing a parcel with simple and basic goods and delivering it to the local coordinator of the action. Despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic, last year's action brought 4,490 presents to children in Belarus, Ukraine and Romania. The parcels went to parish communities, schools, kindergartens, orphanages and street children covered by the activities of streetworkers, as well as to disabled children. Read more (in Polish) here.
News from Europe
Register for the Union Civil Protection Knowledge Network Day
The Union Civil Protection Knowledge Network is the recent civil protection and disaster management initiative that brings together experts and organisations with the aim to increase collaboration opportunities and access to expertise and good practices. On 7th December, the Knowledge Network Day will introduce the Knowledge Network online from 11 to 16:45 CET and highlight its vision, mission, activities and contribution to more effective disaster management under the Union Civil Protection Mechanism. Register here for the online events, including the official launch by European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič
and two consecutive working-level sessions featuring experts, researchers, first responders, scientists, and volunteers.
Johanniter at the biggest EU ModEx exercise so far in Turkey
From 10th to 14th November, the EU Modular Exercise allowed rescuers from 13 different capacities to train their skills in saving lives after a major earthquake. This exercise was co-managed by Johanniter Germany and let the participants test and practice their preparedness and interoperability in the international disaster response.With 1,715 participants from seven countries, the EU MODEX exercise in Tekirdağ, Turkey, was the biggest of its kind to date. Watch the video here.