NHS Volunteer Responders was set up by NHS England within just a few days in March 2020 as part of the COVID-19 response.
To date it has mobilised an army of volunteers to carry out almost two million support tasks enabling people to stay at home if they are clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 or self-isolating for other reasons. It has also provided 74,000 vaccination steward volunteers across England.
Now, NHS Volunteer Responders are urgently calling for more steward volunteers in Bolton, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport and Wigan to support at local vaccination sites where there is a high demand for volunteer help.
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.
The North West has seen a growing need for steward volunteers and the NHS is calling for help to get local people vaccinated over the summer, particularly in those areas of most vaccination need.
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.
The following sites are just some of the sites looking for steward volunteers in the local area: Whittle Pharmacies Ltd, Bolton; Etihad Vaccination Centre, Manchester; Oldham Integrated Care Centre (ICC), Oldham; Rochdale Infirmary, Rochdale; Salford Royal, Salford; Bramhall Vaccination Centre, Stockport; Robin Park Sports Centre, Wigan.
The NHS Steward Volunteers Volunteer Responders programme was set up by the NHS and is delivered by Royal Voluntary Service andGoodSAM. 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.
“We find ourselves at a crucial moment in the vaccination rollout,” said Catherine Johnstone CBE, Chief Executive of Royal Voluntary Service.
“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.”
Andrew Clarke, a steward volunteer from Greater Manchester, said he likes working in a team environment, so the steward volunteer role came naturally.
“I love meeting new people, I am very sociable and one of the jobs as a steward is to help with queue management, so I will often be chatting to everyone in the queues, asking how they are, where they are from,” said Andrew.
“I have been lucky to get shifts at a lot of different sites around Greater Manchester and have really enjoyed meeting all the different people with different backgrounds, from different parts of our great city.
“I have met some interesting people along the way.
“It’s great to see the younger generations coming along for their jabs and it really is a buzz to see them after they have had their jab and are on the way out. It is a good feeling.
“I enjoy it a lot and I have no plans to stop volunteering even though I have recently started a new interim job role, I want to be a steward volunteer all the way through this rollout.”
People interested are being asked to go to nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk to sign up as a steward volunteer. 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.