This week’s vaccination volunteering story comes from Christine Ashton:
Why did you sign up?
I’m a fieldworker for Winning Hearts and Minds and due to covid have been unable to engage with communities.
Staying at home isn’t for me and I feel like I’m helping our most vulnerable at this important time. I’ve volunteered for a few sessions and have really enjoyed myself. It feels great to make a contribution during this very difficult time.
I signed up after hearing about volunteering opportunities through my work, who allowed me to get involved due to a more relaxed working week. I do one session a week for work, and any other sessions I do are completely voluntary.
Where and how have you been helping, and how is it going?
I’ve helped on sites at Newton Heath, the Irish Centre, the Grange and Plant Hill so I’ve done a few.
I’ve completed almost every task or activity involved in the marshall role, so I’ve done car parking, greeting, escorting vulnerable people, brewer upper, seat and equipment wiper, you name it!
Are you given everything you need to do your job?
Wherever I have offered support there has always been suitable PPE available, and this includes coats and gloves for those working outside - and hand warmers too!
Everybody just works together and is willing to help each other – there’s good sense of team spirit.
I feel completely safe and everything we need is provided. It’s very organised and we are tested every three days. Also the food is a bonus.
How have you found your help and presence to be received by those receiving the vaccine?
I’ve never met so many grateful people, all residents were very happy to be receiving their vaccine.
I spoke to a veteran from the war who said to me that it was somehow easier back then - because they could see the danger, and expressed how important it was we all stuck together.
Any tips for someone thinking of getting involved?
Just be yourself and bear in mind that lots of people who visit these sites haven’t been out of the house for a long time.
It’s quite heart-breaking listening to some of the stories, but alsoinspirational hearing from otheres too.
Take your tissues.
Dress for all weathers
Christine also added that in the included photograph, that the hat she is wearing was kindly gifted by someone who is knitting items in their spare time.