Health chiefs in Leeds praise army of volunteers for 'vital role' in Covid-19 vaccine roll-out

Health chiefs in Leeds have praised the city’s army of volunteers who have stepped forward to help throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Monday, 7th June 2021, 11:45 am
The vaccination centre at Elland Road. Picture: Simon Hulme

The volume of volunteers seen in the city has enabled invaluable support to be provided to those in need since the start of the pandemic - as well as helping with the all-important roll-out of Leeds’ vaccination programme.

To coincide with Volunteers’ Week, which runs from June 1-7 every year, health chiefs in Leeds have taken the opportunity to thank volunteers for their “vital” contributions across the city.

Since the start of the vaccination programme in late 2020, hundreds of volunteers in Leeds have given their time to ensure vaccination clinics run smoothly and efficiently, with their work including greeting patients, supervising waiting areas and car park marshalling.

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NHS Leeds volunteer, Rose Watson, a retired nurse.

Sam Prince, executive director of operations for the Leeds Covid Vaccination Programme, said: “The vaccination programme has been an incredible achievement for Team Leeds - with all NHS organisations, Leeds City Council and community and voluntary organisations working exceptionally hard to vaccinate 435,865 people [as of June 3] so far.

“We are extremely grateful to all the volunteers who have supported this work and played such a vital role, and Volunteers’ Week gives us all the opportunity to recognise this.”

One of the city’s volunteers is Rose Watson, 69, a retired nurse from Calverley.

Her voluntary work over the last seven months has included meeting and greeting patients arriving at the vaccination clinics at GP surgeries in Calverley, Pudsey and Stanningley.

She has also been on hand to support with car park marshalling and helping to put people at ease who may be nervous about their vaccinations.

She has also recently qualified as a Covid-19 vaccinator herself so she can directly support the vaccination programme.

For the past two years, Rose has also been a patient champion with Hillfoot Surgery and as part of that runs a monthly ‘chit chat’ group at St James the Great Church in Pudsey.

The group - which has now been able to restart following the easing of lockdown restrictions - is recommended to patients who may benefit by their GPs.

Her other volunteer work includes being on a weekly rota of volunteers that run the Methodist Live at Home lunches in Calverley.

Rose said: “I love being with people and I like to feel helpful and useful.

“With the Covid-19 pandemic, I think everyone has to do their bit and help where they can.

“I worked as a nurse for more than 40 years, including 20 years training students in administering injections at the University of Leeds Medical School, so I wanted to continue volunteer work in health and care as that is what I know and enjoy.

“Through the chit chat group, the lunches and other groups that I support, I get to meet and support such a wonderful mix of people, from lots of different backgrounds and I’m enjoying the challenge of learning new skills like egg-free baking to suit people’s dietary needs.”

To find out more about what the NHS Leeds CCG volunteers do visit www.leedsccg.nhs.uk.

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