Volunteers STILL required for vaccination centres

Community Action Network are still looking for volunteers who wish to help with the vaccination programme running throughout Dorset.  Volunteering as a marshal can involve a whole host of things!  From making refreshments, to stewarding the queues, to ensuring social distancing is being observed, or even driving buggies.

Healthwatch Dorset Volunteer officer Holly recently took part as a volunteer marshal, to tell you first hand about the experience, but also to show Healthwatch Dorset’s support.  We took over 200 branded hand sanitizers to the vaccination centre to distribute to the volunteers, and we plan to donate more.  In Holly’s own words, she can tell you what to expect if you would like to become a volunteer marshal yourself.

My volunteering diary

Wednesday 6 January – Registered interest via CAN website, it was quick and easy to use.  I received an email detailing the role description and expect more information shortly.

Wednesday 20 January – Due to demand (you have to be quick!) I was unable to book onto early induction sessions, but I received an email today and booked my slot on the next induction session which runs 3pm to 4:30pm on 28 January.

Thursday 28 January – There were over 200 participants in today’s induction!  They are taking on a lot of volunteers as people’s circumstances are likely to change now we are on the ‘road-map out of lockdown’.  The session was very informative, and the hosts took the time to answer each individual’s question.  Volunteers can either attend shifts at the vaccination site at the BIC managed by NHS Dorset HealthCare or at various Community sites across the BCP area.  There is room for comfort breaks and we can bring our own food as we have a dedicated ‘staff room’.  Every hour or so we will be rotated from inside to outside or vice versa, best bring some warm clothes and plenty of layers!

Monday 1 February – WOW what a response for the volunteers.  Everyone is so keen and eager to help that when I logged on to my volunteer account today all the shifts were booked up!  Community Action Network have been very good at providing information and re-releasing shifts and generally keeping everyone up to date, so I will keep my eyes peeled and finger on the pulse for when more shifts will be released to do my bit.  It is also worth checking daily for any cancellations that you can jump on last minute to help out.

Monday 8 February – The shifts have been released!  I have signed myself up for three shifts starting at the end of February at the BIC.  I really look forward to the experience and doing my bit.  My Dad got his vaccine late last week and he said the operation was nothing but smooth and efficient and quick!  So I look forward to participating and helping others like my Dad.

Thursday 25 February – My first shift! I am so excited.  I was greeted by volunteers who were on the morning shift and pointed me in the right direction for parking (which is free for all volunteers, be sure to update your volunteer profile on CAN with your car registration beforehand).  As I was carrying a large box of hand sanitizer I even got a lift with a lovely volunteer in one of the buggies.  Orientation on your first shift doesn’t take long but be sure to turn up early so you’re not left behind.  We were shown all the areas of the vaccination centre and given a brief rundown of our duties as volunteers.  My first post involved reminding the public to sanitise their hands before they moved to the next stage and generally having a nice chit chat!  Having worked from home for the majority of the pandemic it felt great to get out and about again and talk to some new people.  After about 90 minutes I took a little break in the ‘cafe’ where volunteers and staff could have a sit down and help ourselves to biscuits and hot drinks.  Then I was lucky enough to do the next 90 minutes of my shift serving the volunteers and staff hot drinks and biscuits.  I left feeling very happy to have met some new people and to see the astounding work that was being pulled off by all members of the team.  I felt safe at all times and everything is so clean and sanitised regularly.  We were also provided with all the PPE we would need.

Tuesday 9 February – My duties today involved monitoring the staff entrance and opening and closing the doors for all staff and volunteers.  There was a security personnel in post as well so another great opportunity to talk with and meet someone new.  After my break (where I ate ice-cream as some had been kindly donated) I monitored the front desk, again reminding the public to sanitise their hands, have their booking appointment to hand, and then wiping down the front desk in between each person as they moved through the centre.

Thursday 11 February – My last shift!  Today I was on refreshment duty again, and then I monitored the last stage at the vaccination centre, asking people how they felt once they had received the jab and handing out leaflets.  I also directed them to the waiting area to sit for 15 minutes if they were driving.  What a wonderful experience this has been.  All our hand sanitizers have been distributed to the volunteers so I promised to come back with some more.  I was really impressed by the whole operation, the dedication of the staff and volunteers, and how happy the members of the public were to receive the vaccine.

If you would like to get involved you can sign up to be a volunteer marshal here.