I was sitting at home in January after losing my job several months prior and being very bored watching too much Netflix. After a chat with my father-in-law I thought I would try and volunteer to be a driver helping those less able to go to their vaccination appointments. I couldn’t find anywhere how to do this but instead came across a link for volunteer marshals at vaccination centres so signed up.
A week later I was off on my first session to Plant Hill. My first day I was put in the observation tent and spent a lovely afternoon chatting with the patients and making sure they were all okay and had no reactions to the jab. I loved my afternoon there and it made me feel so helpful and a wanted member of society. A few days later I was back again and this time I had my very own “Plant Hill Hat” which had been given to me during my first session. The following week I was in Newton Heath and was put on reception duties.
I have now volunteered for over 20 sessions between Plant Hill and Newton Heath. I can normally be found on the front door asking if patients are okay, no symptoms, not self-isolating, taking temperatures, asking them to use hand sanitiser or even getting them a wheelchair or just a seat while they wait.
I love chatting with the patients and admit some of them must think I am a right idiot but at least it hopefully gives them a lasting good impression and a bit of a laugh during their day. Even better as a Scouser now living in Salford, I can wind up the Man City & Man Utd fans! I get more out of chatting with them then they probably do of me – I won’t go into the session I was on pod duty with the lovely army personnel all in uniform and have never laughed so much in a long time.
As a volunteer, I feel as if I am making a small contribution to our city history and the fight against Covid. I feel useful and admit it gives me a really good excuse to get out of the house for a few hours several times a week.
All us volunteers are given hi-vis jackets, name tags, gloves, facemasks etc. We are fed and given enough tea/coffee/water to sink a ship. I have had enough free cake, donuts, biscuits, chocolate, sandwiches and crisps to make my clothes a bit too tight.
Picture is me (on right) with the wonderful Poppy Soldatos (Tesco Community Champion, Cheetham Hill) outside the Plant Hill Vaccination Centre.
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