The vital role of volunteers

A Covid-19 vaccination clinic in Hull is forging ahead with the winter booster programme thanks in no small part to the work of its steward volunteers.

Stephen Pardon, Royal Voluntary†Service (RVS) volunteer helping at the vaccination centre set up in Hull. Picture Tony Johnson

As the campaign continues to offer Covid-19 booster vaccinations to as many people aged 50 and above as possible, teams of volunteers are playing a vital role in maintaining operations at locations across Yorkshire.

One such vaccination clinic has been established at the Orchard 2000 Pharmacy, in West Hull, and here steward volunteers, working as part of the NHS Volunteer Responders programme are helping ensure the smooth running of the service.

The NHS Volunteer Responders scheme is delivered by the Royal Voluntary Service and GoodSAM, and among the recruits at Orchard 2000 is local steward volunteer Stephen Pardon, aged 62.

Stephen Pardon, Royal Voluntary†Service (RVS) is one of many volunteers playing a vital role

Stephen’s role sees him welcoming visitors to the clinic, giving them directions and answering any initial queries they may have.

He said: “I’ve been volunteering as a steward volunteer since January this year and I haven’t looked back since. It’s such an enormously rewarding thing to do, especially when you can reassure someone who may be nervous about getting the jab.

“I always try and make a little joke or say something that I feel may be comforting, as if they go in with a smile on their face, they’re sure to leave feeling good about what they have done.

“I’ve seen first-hand how important steward volunteers are, especially as we try and get people their booster jabs before Christmas and the difficult winter, but we can’t do this on our own!

“We need more people to step forward and help us safely get people vaccinated and out the other side of the pandemic. If you’re even slightly considering signing up, then I can’t recommend it enough.”

By undertaking these kinds of tasks, the steward volunteers complement the work of the health professionals at the clinic, allowing the latter to concentrate on their specialist work.

Orchard 2000 Pharmacy manager Quincy Ndeori said: “Volunteers are the beating heart of the vaccination process. Without them, it wouldn’t be possible to run. Whenever we are praised for the number of people we vaccinate a day, I have to give the credit to the steward volunteers.

“So many times people have come for their vaccine and said they’d been recommended to come here by friends and family saying how lovely the atmosphere is.

“To anyone wondering whether the role is for them – I would tell you not to hesitate!

“We tailor roles to suit volunteers’ individual needs and try to make it a welcoming environment and care about their experience."

For more details or to register as a steward volunteer, please visit www.nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk

Caption:

Teamwork: Steward volunteer Stephen Pardon, top, gives directions as Ann West, above left, delivers vaccinations at the clinic run by Quincy Ndeori, above right.