St John Ambulance may sell Leighton base

L14-263 St John Ambulance Vandyke road, Leighton Buzzard
L14-263 St John Ambulance Vandyke road, Leighton Buzzard

St John Ambulance have admitted they could sell their Vandyke Road building but insist the future of the Leighton-Linslade unit is not in danger despite dwindling support.

Reports in the national press have suggested dissatisfaction within the organisation at recent restructuring.

Whereas once divisions were managed locally, they are now under the command of eight regional offices headed by professionals earning reported £80,000 salaries.

As a result, income generated from a sale is likely to go straight to SJA’s central offices despite the Leighton-Linslade unit having raised funds to maintain the building since the 1970s.

Regional director Mark Farmer said: “St John Ambulance is committed to providing first aid in and around Leighton-Linslade.

“We are reviewing all properties across the country to ensure that the charity makes best use of its resources, and retains properties and the associated running costs only where the buildings are heavily used by St John Ambulance.

“As a result of this review we are considering the disposal of the building currently used by our volunteers in the town.”

Mr Farmer pointed out that the majority of units operate without a SJA-owned building.

Unit manager Andrew Cursons added: “I believe a change in venue would not have any impact on our unit and our ability to provide first aid in the town.

“However, local support has dwindled a little recently and we’re really keen for more people to volunteer with us.

“Learning first aid and being able to give something back to your community is extremely rewarding, so I’d ask anyone interested in getting involved to get in touch.”