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CRONXWIRE
NHS calls for more Steward Volunteers to boost community’s immunity in Croydon

The NHS and NHS Volunteer Responders are calling for more people in Croydon to volunteer to support the COVID-19 vaccination programme, to protect the health of their community and those most at risk.

Croydon needs 100 more Steward Volunteers to step forward to support at local vaccination sites. And existing local volunteers are once again being asked to reach for their high-vis vests and book volunteering shifts. The COVID-19 booster programme is launching in September to bolster the immunity of priority groups including, those clinically at risk and people aged 50 and over, as the challenging colder months approach. The significant scale of the booster programme will see it run throughout autumn and winter.

By volunteering with NHS Volunteer Responders, Steward Volunteers are a vital part of the team delivering the COVID-19 vaccination, and keeping the most vulnerable people in their area safe.

Steward Volunteers support NHS staff at vaccination sites with non-clinical tasks, including ensuring efficient and safe movement of patients through the process and identifying people who require additional support. As part of this hardworking team, their contribution keeps people healthy, bolsters immunity and even saves lives.

There are many shifts to be filled in Croydon and as shifts are flexible, and booked via the GoodSAM mobile phone app, volunteers have total control of choosing their shifts. Steward Volunteering is a social, team-based role in which volunteers can form great connections with their communities. Expenses are covered and no experience or qualifications are required as a full briefing is provided on site. As they join the frontline team fighting the virus, volunteers can also be offered their COVID booster vaccines whilst on shift.

Volunteers are being asked to commit to at least one shift per week and the following are just some of the local sites looking for Steward Voluntee

  • Centrale & Whitgift Shopping Centre
  • Fieldway Pharmacy

Vijay Arora, an NHS Volunteer Responder from London, said: “I find that just giving even a few hours of my time as a Steward Volunteer feels great. Everyone is so appreciative, and it makes volunteering such an easy and positive thing to do. At my local sites I’ve found that we’ve become a little community, you get to know everyone and I find I miss them when I’m not on shifts. If anyone has even a few hours to share, it’s very rewarding to know that you’re helping the bigger picture. The NHS staff are working so hard and if what I do has been even a little help, it is worth every second. Anybody can do it. It’s so simple, being willing and cheerful is all it requires!”

Those interested in volunteering to protect their community against COVID-19 can visit nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk to sign up as a Steward Volunteer. If enough volunteers sign up in Croydon to sufficiently support the local sites, recruitment may be closed. But volunteers will still be able to register their interest to be on standby and next in line to be called upon if help is needed at a later date.

NHS Volunteer Responders was launched at the start of the pandemic by NHS England and is delivered by Royal Voluntary Service and the innovative mobile app GoodSAM. Through the programme, volunteers have responded to more than 2.2 million requests for help with tasks such as shopping, fetching medication, telephone befriending and patient transport. Volunteer Responders helped over 200,000 people to stay safe and well during the pandemic. More recently, Steward Volunteers have collectively completed over 300,000 shifts at vaccination sites to date, with the number growing week on week.