Susan le Jeune d’Allegeershecque, Secretary General of The Order, talks about the future of St John, and how collaboration and cooperation is at the heart of our ambitious vision for the future.

How many of the people receiving their first aid certificates from St John across the world are aware that they have been trained by an international organisation of more than 150,000 volunteers, which spans more than 35 countries across the globe? And how can we be sure that the effectiveness of the training they receive lives up to the standards and Values of The Order? The answer is “not many” and “we can’t”.

When the Grand Council adopted our new global strategy in 2021, addressing these two issues was at the heart of its vision for the future. The St John leadership agreed that, given the excellence present in our global network across the whole range of first aid, education and community healthcare activity, learning from each other offered the best path to a more consistent delivery of effective services. Getting across the message that we are all part of a global family and raising The Order’s international profile is an important part of the work of the International Secretariat I joined late last year.    

As the new Secretary General of St John, one of my key tasks is to lead the implementation of the new global strategy for our organisation. The small International Office will act to bring people together, oversee the governance of our worldwide Order, and encourage the sharing of knowledge and expertise as we start to define global standards against which our impact is measured.Susan le Jeune d’Allegeershecque, Secretary General

Expert working groups have already made a start, and a new regional structure with Priories replacing the International Office as the main source of support for Associations provides a better framework for co-operation between all parts of The Order: The Relationship Charter signed by all eleven Priories last year covers every aspect of our work including good governance, public education, and Order affairs like honours and awards. The international working groups are discussing how to bring to life key elements of the strategy, such as funding, clinical standards, youth engagement, and women in leadership roles.

A strong St John depends on strong and effective constituent parts. To fulfil our mission to lead globally in first aid and medical responses to community healthcare needs, we have to work to make sure that we all have the tools and support we need to meet the needs of our diverse and changing communities. Susan le Jeune d’Allegeershecque, Secretary General

We do this through effective first aid, and also through the many other services St John volunteers and staff deliver every single day in local communities. All these activities, from eye care and dementia care to our therapy dogs and the cadet and badger programmes make a difference in communities across the world every day.

Our strategy is ambitious and exciting. As we work to make it a reality, we are conscious that change is a gradual process, can be unsettling, and needs lots of honest and open communication to make it work. That is what the team and I will be doing in the coming months. We know we can count on the support of colleagues across the globe as we confirm the position of St John as the global leader in first aid and community healthcare.   

Read more about our new global strategy here.