Requests for steward volunteers have soared in recent weeks and there are now over 2,000 shifts that need filling in sites across the country every day.
Steward volunteers support with the efficient and safe movement of patients through vaccination sites, ensuring that social distancing measures are in place and identifying people who require additional support.
Rutland House in Doncaster is just one of the sites looking for steward volunteers in the local area.
People interested are being asked to go to www.nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk to sign up. Shifts usually last up to six hours with your expenses covered. No experience or qualifications are required and a full briefing is provided on site.
The NHS Steward Volunteers Volunteer Responders programme was set up by the NHS 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.
This is one of the busiest and most crucial periods of the national vaccination programme. Over 50 million vaccines have already been delivered and work continues at pace to vaccinate all adults, with 25-29 year olds recently added to the list.
Catherine Johnstone CBE, Chief Executive of Royal Voluntary Service said: “We find ourselves at a crucial moment in the vaccination rollout. There is a real urgency to this, and we are working at pace to get all adults 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.”
Julie Benson, a Steward Volunteer from Yorkshire said: “The social side of volunteering as a Steward makes you so happy, because you’re meeting likeminded people who also want to help others. We’ve met some amazing people and have seen a lot of the same local volunteers on our shifts and have gotten to know them. We’ve become a little family and sometimes people will bring in baking or fresh eggs from their chickens at home, everyone is so lovely. It’s given us a real sense of community to volunteer with these people who work hard and just get stuck in together to support the vaccine rollout.
“Getting to meet the people coming for their vaccine has been so fulfilling too, for some it might be the first time they have left their house in over a year and they are happy to see a friendly face and have someone to talk to. It works both ways, as I want to talk to them too! Some people might be nervous when they arrive, but we’ll chat to them for a while and then we’ll notice that they’re feeling better, which is so rewarding. It definitely helps with my own wellbeing and mentality.”