One of Ballarat's most enduring volunteer organisations has moved into a new home, and is now eyeing expansion.
The new purpose-built St John Ambulance Victoria Ballarat headquarters in Alfredton were opened on Saturday with a family fun day.
First aid training, event health services and non-emergency patient transport will be hosted under the same roof for the first time in Ballarat.
St John Ambulance Victoria's Grampians regional manager Brenda Clayton said because of the distance from Melbourne, member training occasionally got "stunted to a degree", and their old Ballarat building "backs onto a creek and has really had it".
But she said having central venue where first aid training and non-urgent medical transport co-exist should assist in keeping members up to date, and encourage more volunteers
"We can access everything quicker, easier, and there's more resources. We've got so much room to grow," Ms Clayton said.
There is currently 40 St John Ambulance volunteers in Ballarat, with almost 100 people involved in the broader Grampians region.
St John Ambulance Victoria received a three-year tender for non-urgent transport of patients in Ballarat, Geelong, Keilor and West Melbourne at the start of this year.
Specialist teams from St John can now be sent out to a non-emergency call from 000, transport patients from their homes to hospitals for treatment, or act as regular ambulances if there's a sudden surge of urgent cases. The company's CEO Gordon Botwright said the service contract was essential for St John's longevity.
If we're going to be delivering community programs, then that has to come out of the proceeds we derive out of our commercial activities. To get a contract like this from Ambulance Victoria gives us a flow of funds into our organisation.St John Ambulance Victoria CEO Gordon Botwright
"So it's very important, because we receive no recurrent government funding at all."
After working with the organisation for almost 20 years, Ms Clayton said it was clear St John was "no longer a basic first aid organisation".
The need for the volunteer service continues to increase in regional areas, particularly when it comes to big events like music festivals where complex medical issues can present. St Johns is already getting ready for 'festival season', with seven large music festivals planned for the Grampians region in summer 2019.
"Our role is progressing more and more," she said. "We've very much gone from simple first aid and CPR over the years to the advanced side of things.
"At musical festivals we now have a medical assistance team, but it's like a little 'MASH' unit. We can intubate, we can do sutures, we can assist with every aspect of care. Eighteen years ago, we didn't have that."