Vaccine centre volunteers needed in Portsmouth - here's how to help

CALLS have been made for more 'wonderful' volunteers to help out at vaccine hubs around Portsmouth, with some recruits now returning to work.

Tuesday, 13th April 2021, 3:30 pm

Voluntary network, the Hive, is continuing to draft volunteers to support the vaccination effort in the city that has so far seen almost 100,000 residents given at least one jab.

Among voluntary roles needed are vaccine hub marshals who direct people in and out of centres, allowing the process to run smoothly.

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Pictured: Vaccination lead, Stephanie Clark with fellow volunteers, Nick Leacver and Linda Swinburne outside St James Hospital, Portsmouth on 17 February 2021 Picture: Habibur Rahman

Chief executive of the Hive, Louise Wilders, said: 'Our amazing volunteers have undertaken some 14,960 hours of support on vaccines to date, supporting the main Solent hub at St James, but also a couple of GP practices and the support includes assisting people to attend their appointments and taking vaccinators to the housebound.

'Many of the wonderful volunteers will be returning work as the roadmap out of lockdown continues and as such we are still recruiting for volunteers to ensure that we have capacity for this and other really important and exciting roles going forward.'

Retired Fratton resident Sarah Lewis has worked two shifts a week as a marshal at the St James’ Hospital hub in Milton since it opened in February.

The 63-year-old said: 'It's been absolutely brilliant. People have been so cheerful and positive about having the vaccine.

Sarah Lewis, 63, has been volunteering at the St James' vaccine centre since February.

'At the beginning we were talking to older people some of whom hadn't been out in a year, which was really special.'

It comes as the government announced people aged 45 and above will be able to book their first vaccine.

Sarah added: 'It's been brilliant how quickly it's been rolled out. We've had days where it's been completely flat out. Now the over-45s can get theirs we are expecting to be really busy again.

Steve Richardson, 55, who has worked as a volunteer at St James' vaccine hub since February. Pictured with his dog Freya.

Steve Richardson, a 55-year-old IT specialist from Cosham, manages a weekly shift at the centre while working a full time job.

'We greet people coming in to make sure they know where they're going and they've come in at the right time, and we let them though,' he said.

'So many people cheer when they come in because they're so happy to get their vaccines, it's wonderful. There's a board that tells us how many people have been vaccinated and it's usually more than 1,000 every day. That's amazing to hear.'

And swimming teacher, Oliver Stubbs, 33, from Horndean said: 'During the pandemic I couldn't work so to start with so it was a way to have something to do, to feel useful and to try to help the NHS. But I also thoroughly enjoy it.

Oliver Stubbs, 33, who has been volunteering at the St James vaccine centre

'The majority of people who come through have been really positive and I've enjoyed working with everyone so much.'

If interested in volunteering please visit volunteer.hiveportsmouth.com.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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