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Mountain Rescue

St John Scotland has proudly supported Mountain Rescue teams across Scotland for many years, providing over £3.7million in funding.

In Scotland, there are 23 volunteer Mountain Rescue teams, with over 800 volunteers, plus three police teams and one RAF team. These teams provide 24/7 search and rescue services, critical to keeping people safe.

Since it began its support of Mountain Rescue, St John Scotland has provided bases for 12 teams in Scotland including Aberdeen, Arran, Arrochar, Dundonnell, Lomond, Moffat, Oban, Ochills, Skye and Tayside.

The total cost of these bases has now topped £2 million, and are provided to the teams under licence and rent free.

The other main element of the support St John Scotland provides to Mountain Rescue is the provision of Mountain Rescue vehicles. A rolling programme was kicked off in 1998, when four teams a year received a new vehicle. Over the next ten years, 25 teams affiliated to the Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland successfully applied and took delivery of a new vehicle.

Each mountain rescue team works in a unique environment so there is no typical mountain rescue vehicle. Most of the teams in Scotland chose a Land Rover Defender, however each one required some degree of customisation and additional equipment such as winches, spotlights, roof racks and roll cages. Land Rover also adapted some of the early vehicles to ensure that a stretcher would fit in the vehicle. In some areas such as Glencoe, the terrain was such that the most suitable vehicle was a van with extra seating to take the team to the nearest point by road.

In 2011, St John Scotland then rolled out a programme to provide a grant for £20,000 for Mountain Rescue teams to replace old vehicles. 

St John Scotland is proud to support the dedicated and brave volunteers of the Scottish Mountain Rescue community in their life-saving work, helping those in need and danger. You can find out more about Mountain Rescue in Scotland by visiting www.scottishmountainrescue.org

St John Rescue Boats

St John Scotland was the key sponsor of a rescue boat for one of the country’s most well-known attractions – Loch Lomond.

Launched by HRH Princess Anne in November 2006, the specially designed Arctic 22 rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RIB) named ‘St John’ – to which St John Scotland contributed £32,000 – is based in Luss, and is on call all year round. 

It is manned by a team of 23 volunteers who attend weekly training sessions. They are called out to help people on the loch around 60 times a year, and work closely with the Lomond and Arrochar Mountain Rescue Teams. 

St John Scotland also funded an £18,000 extension to the boathouse in Luss, which was opened in 2001, and the Dunbartonshire Team has funded smaller purchases in recent years.

A second RIB, bearing the name St John, is the Nith Inshore Rescue Boat, launched in 2010 and to which St John Scotland contributed £25,000.

Mountain Safety

In 2015, St John Scotland funded a new mountain safety project developed jointly with the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, ensuring university students coming into the sport have the skills and knowledge to stay safe in treacherous Scottish hills during the winter months.

Mountaineering Safety Instructor, Nick Carter was appointed in 2015, and teaches students through university mountain clubs. After learning that students are considered ‘high risk’ in what is already a very dangerous sport, St John Scotland offered to fund this safety instructor post to prevent students from going into the hills unprepared, facing challenging conditions without appropriate training.

Inverness-based instructor Nick holds a Mountaineering Instructor Certificate, the highest qualification in the British Mountaineering Instructor scheme and has worked in both the National Mountain Centre for England and Wales and at Glenmore Lodge, the Scottish National Outdoor Training Centre.

Follow Nick on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/AlphaMountain

Public Access Defibrillators 

St John Scotland has several initiatives to help provide Public Access Defibrillators (PADs) in locations across Scotland. 

Approximately 3,500 people undergo attempted resuscitation each year after an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, but currently only around 1 in 20 survive. Defibrillation works in synergy with CPR, and is most effective the earlier it is performed.  Delivering a defibrillatory electrical shock to the heart within 3-5 minutes of collapse can produce survival rates as high as 75%. (source: Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest, A strategy for Scotland, The Scottish Government, March 2015)

In 2008, St John Scotland placed PADs in towns and villages around Angus, which are maintained by local St John First Responders. Other St John Scotland areas who have placed PADs include West Lothian, Perth and Galashiels.

In 2015, St John Scotland, in partnership with Network Rail, installed four PADs in Edinburgh’s Waverley Station. The defibrillators were deployed four times in the first year, saving two people.

An agreement was signed with Scottish Golf in January 2015 that will result in around 70 defibrillators being provided Golf Clubs across the country over three years. Clubs from the north - Fortrose & Rosemarkie and Cullen - have already benefited; and in the south, Powfoot and Stranraer, with many more in popular golfing locations in East Lothian, Angus and Ayrshire

In 2016, St John Scotland’s Edinburgh team launched the St John and the City Defibrillator Project. Initially, the project aimed to deploy twenty PADs across the City of Edinburgh in its first year. However, following the success of the launch event, the charity well exceeded this target, receiving 35 pledges for PADs across the city in its first phase of the project.

With the help of the St John and the City Project, Transport for Edinburgh also plans to install one defibrillator in each of its seventeen trams throughout the city.

You can find out more about the St John and the City Project here: www.stjohnandthecity.org.uk

Patient Transport Services

St John Scotland has provided a volunteer led patient transport service to the NHS and Dumfries and Galloway for nearly 20 years. 

The service transports patients from Dumfries and Galloway to hospitals outside of the region for treatment. The service transports around 150 people annually, with over 500 patient journeys each year, covering more than 40,000 miles. 

Two services run in Angus and Dundee. The first takes patients to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee on behalf of the Scottish Ambulance Service. This service is augmented by the volunteer drivers in Perthshire who bring patients from that region to Dundee. 

The other service takes renal patients to the Arbroath Dialysis Unit on behalf of NHS Tayside six days per week every week of the year. Dialysis is a life-saving treatment with over 3000 patient trips each year, clocking up nearly 100,000 miles on our three dedicated vehicles. 

People over 25 and under 70 can apply to be a volunteer driver by providing their personal details below and forwarding it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   

Please be sure to include the following details in your email application:

  • Name of Applicant
  • Address and Postcode 
  • Email
  • Tel No
  • Mobile

First Responders

Nationally and locally, St John Scotland supports a growing network of First Responder groups. They are trained volunteers working with the Scottish Ambulance Service to deal with emergency situations in the own locality until the arrival of paramedics.

In the Angus area there are currently 22 fully equipped St John First Responders who cover all the main population centres. If you are interested in becoming a St John First Responder, contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Archibald Russell Court, in Polmont is a retirement complex with fourteen two- bedroom apartments in spacious, landscaped grounds near Polmont Railway Station.

A separate lounge and conservatory provide congenial meeting places for residents and friends. The entire complex has gas central heating, and there is ample parking space and a large, attractive and secluded garden at the back of the property.

The complex operates under a shared ownership scheme and is managed for St John Scotland by Bield Housing & Care.

To find out more or to be put on the waiting list, contact Bield Housing and Care on www.bield.co.uk

Support for other charities 

St John Scotland teams across Scotland support a range of charities, often on a long term basis. Through our Area Committees, we are able to provide small grants to other charities that share similar objectives. Contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.  



St John International

The worldwide face of the Order of St John is St John International. 

The eight Priories – Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa, USA and Wales – all contribute to the budget of St John International, which is headquartered in Clerkenwell, London. The size of each Priory’s contribution reflects the number of its Order members, and for Scotland, the contribution sits at around £36,000 per year. 

Formally the St John International Office, in 2013 it was rebranded as St John International, and the former Order of St John website was redesigned and renamed St John International. The staff carry out the essential central tasks of St John, ensuring the standards required of an Order of Chivalry are met. They also help to provide and coordinate assistance to the needier of the 33 St John Associations throughout the world through, for example, the International Development Programme.

This programme helps Associations strengthen themselves organisationally, financially, and in other ways in order to increase their charitable output. Amongst other things, advice is given on applying for grants from funding bodies outside St John. An assistance fund allows small but often critical grants to be made to Associations for help with items such as office or training equipment. 

Around 50% of the St John International budget, and, correspondingly, St John Scotland’s share of it, goes towards helping Associations. 

St John International is headed by the Secretary-General, and in November 2012, Vice Admiral Sir Paul Lambert succeeded Rear Admiral Andrew Gough, who had held the post for nine years.

St John Eye Hospital, Jerusalem

The St John Eye Hospital in Jerusalem is supported by St John Scotland and many of the other St John Priories and Associations across the world. 

Owned by St John International, the hospital is open to all races and religions but principally serves the Palestinian population. The hospital widened into a group of facilities, taking treatment out to areas in need, partly due to the severe restrictions on employment and general movement of staff and patients, now including the Separation Wall, imposed by the Israeli Government. 

Situated in East Jerusalem, the main hospital has a very modern operating theatre and a large outpatient department, as well as 49 beds. 

St John Scotland is proud to support the Hebron wing of the hospital, situated on the West Bank, where the charity has donated £277,000 over the past two years. The hospital, which had its official opening in September of 2016, opened in 2005 as a clinic, but in November of 2015, moved into a purpose built clinic which is larger and in a more central location. 

St John Scotland also sponsors the Medical Director of the Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group, Dr Jeanne Garth as well as helping to fund the library, contributing to Patient Relief and Gaza Appeal funds, and funding the overseas specialist glaucoma training of one of the staff’s Palestinian doctors. 

The hospital in Hebron provides sight-saving treatments such as cataract and laser eye surgery to treat diabetic retinopathy, and serves the densely populated areas around Hebron and Bethlehem. Accessing medical care in occupied Palestinian territories is often a difficult and complicated process as patients have navigate numerous movement restrictions. As well as the Separation Wall, which cuts into the West Bank, there are hundreds of fixed and flying checkpoints, as well as a permit system.

Since 2015, the St John Eye Hospital in Hebron has seen 11,000 patients and performed 340 major, and much needed surgeries for individuals who otherwise would not have access to such services. 

Find out more about the St John Eye Hospital here: www.stjohneyehospital.org

St John Mother and Child Africa Programme

St John International launched the St John Mother and Child Africa programme in 2013 in Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, which have some of the highest maternal and newborn mortality rates in the world. 

In many rural areas in Africa, there is a lack of health education and long distances to clinics, meaning it is very difficult for women to gain access to vital healthcare. The programme is designed to train 400 St John local community health workers in an attempt to tackle this issue.

The health workers are taught maternal and newborn healthcare practices for mothers and babies, including nutrition and antenatal check-ups, preparing for labour, and sexual and reproductive healthcare for young people. 

There is also community outreach involving and educating decision makers about the importance of maternal and newborn healthcare. Mobile clinics are in operation in some areas to bring healthcare closer to those who need it most. 

St John Malawi Primary Health Care Project

Malawi sits near the bottom of the UN Human Development Index, which calculates such factors as life expectancy and infant mortality, and ranks lower than any other country bar one in which St John operates. 

The main objectives of the Primary Health Care Project are to improve child health and the primary prevention of illness among poor households. The project also helps to prevent illness through education and immunisation, with particular emphasis on the health of young children. Volunteers also provide other medicines and training in the home-based care of seriously ill people.

St John Scotland has supported the Malawi Primary Health Care Project since 1988, and this support has allowed the number of Community Health workers to be more than doubled over the project’s lifespan. 

They work in the most densely populated townships of Malawi’s commercial capital, Blantyre, where living conditions are incredibly poor. 

The project uses a low-cost but comprehensive approach to promote better health, which includes community health education, household visits, linkages to local health services and under-5s outreach clinics. 

UNICEF notes that ‘clean water, basic toilets and good hygiene practices are essential for the survival and development of children’. St John Malawi volunteers assess household conditions, refuse disposal, toilets and basic hygiene and then indicate actions households need to take to improve sanitation. 

The main sources of poor health addressed by the project are:

  • Diarrhoeal disease and typhoid fever, which are related to sanitation and food handling
  • Malaria, a leading cause of childhood death which can be prevented through the use of insecticide-treated bed nets
  • Under-nourished and malnourished children and adults
  • Eye infections related to hygiene such as conjunctivitis 
  • Skin diseases such as scabies

St John Home-Based Care Programme

The St John Home-Based Care Programme, an initiative by St John South Africa, has been benefitting communities in South Africa since 2004.

The programme provides much needed health education, especially relating to childhood illnesses, and trains people in how to look after a seriously ill person in their home. As HIV/AIDS is particularly prevalent in the area, this means many terminally ill people are desperately in need of care.

The programme was launched with the help of an appeal by the Grand Prior, HRH The Duke of Gloucester, and St John Scotland members contributed over £23,000 after this initial call to action. Further contributions since then have totalled £25,000.

Designed to benefit South Africa and all ten other South African countries in which St John has a presence, the programme has so far been successful in educating people to be able to provide home-based care within impoverished townships.

St John Emergency Relief Fund

The St John Emergency Relief Fund was established after a suggestion from St John Scotland was made to support those in need following the tsunami disaster. It was suggested that rapid, coordinated, financial help from the broader St John family should be put in place to help in the case of emergencies. 

This suggestion was agreed by the Grand Council in 2009, and £100,000 was earmarked, with all Priories donating in relation to the Order membership, similar to contributions made to the budget of St John International.

The criteria for drawing on the fund are intentionally broad, so as to allow its rapid and flexible use. 

An emergency could include a natural disaster, such as a fire, flood, earthquake, drought, famine, or human conflict, terrorism, civil unrest, or outbreak of disease. Funds can be drawn o by decision of a small committee and is replenished as necessary. 

In 2009, £20,000 was designated for St John Zimbabwe as further help with their work during the outbreak of cholera during that year. 

In 2011, £33,000 was allocated to St John Kenya to enable them to deliver famine relief in the east of their country, following discussions with the World Health Organisation. Specific objectives including providing food for 15,000 people and medical treatment to 1,300 adults and children within three months.

A third donation of £6,500 was made to St John Kenya in January of 2013 after fighting in the Tana River Delta meant the country’s health infrastructure had broken down. St John Kenya is working in partnership with the Red Cross, and they aim to reach the most vulnerable women and children through the community health workers. 

Before this fund was established, St John Scotland had given directly to St John Sri Lanka following the tsunami, to St John Kenya at a time of political unrest, and to St John Zimbabwe soon after the outbreak of the cholera epidemic.

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