St John Ambulance is the UKs leading First Aid and ambulance charity. We, the University of London Unit (ULU), are a student society affiliated with St John Ambulance. We aim to provide students in Higher and Further Education with the chance to learn and practice first aid as well as become a volunteer with St John Ambulance.
Whether you just want to know First Aid for your own sake or you want to join us having a great time putting your newly found superpowers to action at events around London, get involved now!
We offer a range of meetings about different aspects of First Aid; we are a friendly bunch and welcome new members, so come along and join St John Ambulance.
When and Where We Meet
Sessions are every Wednesday during term time at 15.30-17.00 on Birkbeck Campus. Please check the mailing list or our social media to find out what we hope to cover and any changes to the timing or locations.
What we do
Learning First Aid
Each week we focus on a different element of first aid, gaining expertise by learning in it detail, and gaining practice at treating it so as to be able to respond quickly when the situation arises.
One popular session we run involves teaching you how to perform Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). This is something we believe everyone should know how to do, so we engage various learning methods to help everyone. To start, the trainer will give a presentation which describes an overview of the process. This would start from diagnosing the need for CPR, through to its implementation and what possible complications you may encounter. Then we get everyone practicing because practice is essential and fun!
These small group breakouts tend to work well with people quickly gaining confidence. We would then wrap the session up with a chance for everyone to give feedback; general comments from the trainer(s) and from the attendees.
We also endeavour to provide online access to our content for those who cannot attend or wish to catch up at a later date. This will take the form of recordings, powerpoints and live video calls to allow you to tune in from off-campus.
There are several opportunities available for those who wish to volunteer. To give everyone a flavour of the kind of work St John Ambulance does and to give you a grounding in basic first aid, we usually ask that volunteers attend sessions at the beginning of the term before we begin recruitment towards the end of the calendar year.
Once recruited, you will be able to choose from a number of roles such as fundraising, logistics, ambulance crew, vaccination volunteering, hospital volunteering, trainers, youth leaders, community advocates and more! The most common volunteer role to begin with is first aider, where you will recieve 4 days official training over two weekends that will prepare you to give lifesaving first aid at many events such as London marathon, football matches and concerts.
It is by no means a requirement to become a volunteer in order to be part of our society. We welcome anyone wishing to learn first aid, get involved with committee roles or come and socialise whether or not you decide to join SJA as an organisation.
What does it cost?
£5 for an annual membership
- Sign up to our mailing list and social media via the linktree at linktr.ee/svulu
- Purchase membership from the Birkbeck SU website
- Attend our sessions.
"Personally, if someone collapses in the street, I’ve always wanted to be that person that can rush in to save them. First Aid is one of those basic things that everyone should know, and what better way to learn than through a society?
Being student-run, weekly meetings are very relaxed and social, but at the same time, you learn and practice tons of (literally) life-saving skills! Like CPR, taking blood pressures, and even dealing with drunk people (especially relevant as a University student). Bandages, slings, checking vitals - you learn all sorts! And from some of the most talented and genuinely lovely people I have the privilege of calling my friends. There’s nothing quite like being in the St John LINKS family.
Not only is it a great way to learn how to help others, it's super fun being out on duty too, representing such a prestigious charity. I've only been operational for a few months, but the experience is beyond immersive - under the guidance of the more advanced first aiders, I've helped treat a variety of patients, from London Marathon runners with bleeding feet, to unresponsive patients in Clapham Hub, to Arsenal football fans with sprained wrists. With the opportunity to work at Wimbledon and the Hyde Park concerts over the summer, there’s definitely something for everyone!"
- Emily Caudron, Joined Oct 2016
"With only negligible amounts of bias, I also love our St John Ambulance unit and here's why:
At the start of uni, being around town all day I knew that if something happened in front of me on the street, and someone needed help, I wouldn't have a clue what to do. And I wanted to change that, so I thought 'great! I'll come along one evening a week, and become the person who'll know what to do.' But at the very first meeting I realised that St John would become more than that, since not only was the meeting informative, it was also really good fun! The people are fun and friendly, the atmosphere is relaxed, and very soon Wednesday nights became one of the highlights of my week.
Then I saw the smart uniform and pretty equipment we get at events, and I thought 'that looks nice too!' So I signed up, and before I knew it I'd walked straight into (well, through the back door) White Hart Lane, the Emirates, the Olympic Stadium, Lord's Cricket, Wimbledon and Queen's tennis, the Royal Opera House and Horse Guards parade, to name but a few. I'd met the most interesting people, made the most wonderful friends, and treated everything from small cuts to unresponsive people, to some really weird things.
Now I feel like if someone did need help, not only would I want to help, I'd also be competent to do so. And I gained a bit more along the way!"
- Shira Greenberg, Society Manager 2017/18 (Treasurer 2015/16, 2016/17)