St John Ambulance has seen exponential growth over the last five years, nowhere more evident than in the North East of the country, where Drogheda, Meath South and Cavan divisions have been set up and continue to flourish.
The Officer in Charge of Drogheda division, Colin Maher, approached St John Ambulance looking to set up a division in Louth when he returned from the UK in the late 2000s. The division was finally formed in 2010.
As Drogheda division received direct funding from the National Lottery last year, they and their work was featured on Winning Streak last Saturday night, January 18th (view from 31'30" on http://www.rte.ie/player/ie/show/10243858/ ). The segment has been hailed by Commissioner John Hughes as "a wonderful presentation of what we all do."
The National Lottery funding has been used in order to update the division's fleet of vehicles, which now comprises a 4x4 land cruiser, two ambulances, and a bike unit (2 bicycles equipped with life-saving equipment, capable of reaching patients in high density crowds more rapidly than larger vehicles or members on foot).
The €60,000 donation from the National Lottery brings to about €100,000 the amount of money raised by Drogheda division through various sponsorship endeavours including a 10k race, a cyclethon, and donations from the health board, and JP McManus. All of the funds have been spent on acquiring and kitting out the division's 4x4 and ambulances.
At present, the division's 106 members carry out public duty in Louth, as well as joining forces with other divisions for duties in Leinster. It is rare that a large-scale event will take place anywhere around Dublin without Drogheda division being present.
Indeed, Drogheda division alone were responsible for nearly 5800 man-hours of service in 2013.
This, like all work carried out by St John Ambulance nationally, takes place on an entirely voluntary basis.
St John Ambulance greatly appreciates all the support, which it has to date, and continues to receive from its donors. Without their support, the black & white uniforms that have been present at public gatherings in Ireland since 1903 would cease to be there.