St John’s Northampton officially opens new training space after COVID, cyclone delayed ceremony

Phoebe PinGeraldton Guardian
St John Ambulance community paramedic Midwest Nic Chadbourne, chairperson Amy Teakle, admin officer Delys Reynolds and regional manager for Midwest Kevin Blake in the new training and community space.
Camera IconSt John Ambulance community paramedic Midwest Nic Chadbourne, chairperson Amy Teakle, admin officer Delys Reynolds and regional manager for Midwest Kevin Blake in the new training and community space. Credit: Pic: Phoebe Pin

One global pandemic and a cyclone later, St John Ambulance finally celebrated the official opening of its refurbished Northampton sub-centre on Friday.

Volunteers first started throwing ideas around for the expansion of the hub in 2017, with the start of earthworks in 2019 signalling the realisation of the dream.

A grant provided through the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund and sponsorship from local businesses helped fund the project, and St John volunteers pitched in countless hours to get the building looking its best. Work included a new room which will be used for training volunteers, hosting first aid courses and other activities.

The project was finished in March last year, but the COVID-19 pandemic put an end to plans for an official opening. Community members and special guests instead got their first look at the new facilities on Friday, with proceedings featuring a “virtual unveiling” of a plaque which was unable to be transported for the occasion because of the Perth and Peel COVID-19 lockdown.

The existing building and ambulance shed had its roof damaged in the cyclone, with tarps having to be replaced twice because of recent winds.

But St John Mid West community paramedic Nic Chadbourne said the team was determined to host the celebrations.

“Even though the building is not in the condition we wished it was, we decided it would still be a good idea to go ahead as a way of looking forward and setting our spirits high again,” he said.

Mr Chadbourne said the refurbishments could not have come at a better time.

“With the onset of COVID-19, not only has the new space allowed us to have adequate social distancing, but with increased usage of video conferencing, being able to conduct meetings in a private room is so much easier,” he said.

“There is no way we would have been able to hold any first aid classes over the last 12 months without the new space.”

St John Ambulance Nic Chadbourne and chairperson Amy Teakle do a "virtual unveiling" of the plaque which will be installed on the new building.
Camera IconSt John Ambulance Nic Chadbourne and chairperson Amy Teakle do a "virtual unveiling" of the plaque which will be installed on the new building. Credit: Geraldton Guardian

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