Solent NHS Trust celebrates its dedicated volunteers this National Volunteers’ Week
1-7 June is National Volunteers’ Week and Solent NHS Trust is using the opportunity to showcase the brilliant work its volunteers on the Isle of Wight do.
Sue Harriman, Chief Executive, Solent NHS Trust, said: “Over the last year, the coronavirus pandemic has seen the NHS face unprecedented challenges, and the work of volunteers, who give their time generously to enhance the lives of patients and their families in our communities, has never been more apparent.
“We are so proud of the work of our regular and longstanding volunteers, as well as those who have come on board to support the rollout of our four large-scale COVID-19 vaccination centres. Every volunteer makes a positive difference to those who access our services through to supporting people in receiving their COVID-19 vaccine. All in all, volunteers brilliantly contribute to keeping more people across Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight healthy, safe and independent at, or close to, home.”
One of the biggest volunteer efforts has been seen at Solent’s COVID-19 Riverside vaccination centre in Newport. Solent relies on 170 volunteers a week to support the centre, and have had over 250 individuals work alongside us. Community Action Isle of Wight has played a leading role in recruiting and co-ordinating the volunteers at Riverside.
Shirley Winn is a volunteer coordinator and a vaccinator at Riverside. She shares what volunteering means to her, and how her roles have inspired her to retrain as a nurse in the NHS.
Shirley explained: “Before COVID-19, I had a really successful travel agency and tour operating business here on the island. I had to really reinvent myself because I lost my company. I could have gone one of two ways, but I decided to reinvent myself.
“I've been working as a funeral celebrant and I saw the role as volunteer vaccinator so I did all the training and then saw an advert for NHS Providers, applied and was lucky enough to get a position.
“Having worked as a vaccinator at Riverside, I also started on the car park at 4 o'clock till 8 o'clock, every Tuesday and Saturday and then the volunteer people came up to me and said, would I like a role as a volunteer co-ordinator. I couldn't do that full time because I love my vaccinating!
“I would never have had the opportunity to follow this path if COVID-19 hadn't come along and destroyed the travel industry. So, I take from this, the fact I've been given new opportunities. As a small child, I always wanted to be a nurse and now I'm going to go for it.”
Sue Harriman continued: “We extend a huge thank you to our partners across the voluntary sector, including Community Action Isle of Wight. They are by our side every step of the way in helping us provide the very best care and support to those who need our help and services, and we are really proud to have all of our volunteers in the Solent family.”
If like Shirley, you are looking for a way to make a difference to your community and help those in need, why not join the team of volunteers at Riverside vaccination centre? Please visit https://www.communityactionisleofwight.org.uk/signup/ to find out more and get involved.