Our History

St John Scotland was formed in 1947, and since our beginning, we have grown and responded to the changing needs of communities across Scotland.

In our early years in the 1940s and 50s, we offered vital services not yet provided by the fledgling NHS, including lending out “medical comforts” such as wheelchairs, crutches, commodes, bed rests and other aids.

Throughout the 1950s, 60s and 70s, St John Scotland built and operated hospitals, care homes and accommodations for the elderly and vulnerable.

Photo of historic nurses

From the 1990s onwards, St John Scotland developed an enduring relationship with Scottish Mountain Rescue, which has seen us become the biggest charitable donor to the teams, providing funds for vehicles and bases across the country.

Vintage Mountain Rescue vehicle

In later years, St John Scotland’s local Area committees supported other charities and organisations that were meeting local need, as well as setting up new services such as Patient Transport, which began in Dumfries and Galloway in the 1990s, and which we still provide today.

A group of St John Scotland volunteers stand next to a car

In more recent times, we continue to respond to the needs of communities across Scotland by focusing our work in four core services:

Patient Transport

CPR Training

Public Access Defibrillators

Community First Responders

A St John Scotland volunteer demonstrates a defibrillator to a man

Explore the rich heritage of St John Scotland on our dedicated website, commissioned to celebrate our 75th anniversary.

Find out more about our ancient roots, the establishment of St John Scotland in the 1940s, and how we became the vibrant charity we are today. And access a wealth of resources including an archive of oral history interviews with our volunteers.


A montage of smiling people