NHS Volunteer Responders is reaching out to the British African 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.
When NHS Volunteer Responders opened recruitment for a new Steward Volunteering role, Taurai Manyanga was eager to sign up and support his community through the next phase of the crisis.
Taurai said: “I was brought up to believe that I too have a social responsibility to help people where I can in the community I’m in, and when I heard about NHS Volunteer Responders on television, I thought it was a great opportunity to do just that.
“I also spoke with some people from Black communities and I was glad to be there as I could tell that they felt more comfortable talking to me, talking to someone that looks like them. One man was displeased with the vaccine process, asking me why we were giving people the vaccine and if I had been vaccinated myself. After I explained to him the reasons I chose to get my jabs, I was so pleased that he reconsidered his stance.”
People interested in signing up as an 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.
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.”