The St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group (the Hospital) has been in existence since 1882 and is now the only charitable provider of eye care in the Palestinian Territories. St John Ambulance Australia has supported the Hospital in a number of ways, and continues to support the Hospital in the current climate, in particular through the introduction of Ophthalmic Week in 2011, an initiative that aims to increase awareness of the work of the Hospital.
The research sought to examine members’ awareness of both the Ophthalmic Week initiative and the work of the Hospital, and to determine ways to increase the same in the St John membership. The authors found that ophthalmic activities do and should continue to play a significant role in the work of St John Ambulance Australia, however there is much room for improvement in generating awareness of the initiatives and the work of the hospital amongst members. For young members, a particular focus on social media is imperative if this audience is to be reached.
As a result, several recommendations are made.
1. Development of a new Hospital video that depicts St John Ambulance Australia’s role in supporting the Hospital, and that would better engage a modern and younger audience.
2. Increase Ophthalmic Week to Ophthalmic Month, giving divisions more flexibility to engage in varied ophthalmic activities over a longer period.
3. Develop a specific guide for divisions that includes the expectations, ideas and resources for Ophthalmic Week.
4. Develop novel and innovative centralised fundraising drives for the Hospital, internally and externally.
5. Increase promotion and communication of the Hospital and Ophthalmic Week through existing channels, but particularly through social media.