NHS Volunteer Responders is reaching out to the South Asian community, calling for more Steward Volunteers to support at local vaccination sites.
There is a growing need for steward volunteers and the NHS is calling for help to get the community vaccinated.
Getting both doses of the vaccine is the best way for people to protect themselves and those around them from the virus and volunteers in this role will be supporting the clinical staff at vaccination sites and helping the people that have come for their jab to complete the process safely and comfortably.
Volunteers help to ensure social distancing measures are in place and identify people who require additional support. Volunteer safety is a priority, with sites providing a full briefing ahead of the shift.
People interested in signing up as a SV can go to www.nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk. Shifts usually last up to six hours with your expenses covered. No experience or qualifications are required.
The NHS Volunteer Responders programme was set up by NHS England and NHS Improvement to support the pandemic response and is delivered by Royal Voluntary Service and GoodSAM. Volunteers use a mobile phone app to choose what shifts they would like to do and when.
Motivated by the loss of a neighbour to Covid-19 last year, Jasbir Bangerh is passionate about volunteering and supporting the NHS and says that she can’t get enough of volunteering in her NHS Volunteer Responders Steward role.
Jasbir said “I think that vaccine uptake is low among people of my background and often they may be nervous when they arrive on site, but I think it helps to reassure them when they see that I am someone they can relate to. My Punjabi isn’t the strongest but at times I have been able to communicate with people in Punjabi and support them through their visit, which is very rewarding. You have the chance to make a positive impact on someone’s vaccination experience and if they have a good experience, they might go on and share that positivity with their friends or family and you could be making a real difference.
Professor Sir Keith Willet, SRO – NHS Covid-19 vaccine deployment programme at NHS England said: “We are incredibly appreciative of everyone who has stepped forward to support the vaccine rollout so far. All out vaccination volunteers are performing a critical role and are a key part of the programme’s success. Our Steward Volunteers do a fantastic job of freeing up our staff to focus on the task at hand, and at this crucial stage we need these volunteers now more than ever so we can make sure as many eligible people as possible get all their jabs done.”
Catherine Johnstone CBE, Chief Executive of Royal Voluntary Service said: “We are at a crucial moment in the vaccination rollout. There is a real urgency to this, and we are working at pace to get people vaccinated as fast as possible. There is a particular need for steward volunteers to help the vaccination programme reach communities most in need. If you are able to help by joining the team, please don’t hesitate. Together we can get the jabs done.”