The NHS and Royal Voluntary Service are calling for more NHS Volunteer Responders to support their community with essential tasks. The volunteers help people who are continuing to keep contact with others to a minimum because they have other health conditions which make them particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.
NHS Volunteer Responders provide support with lifts to medical appointments, collecting shopping, medication or other essentials, and by making ‘check in and chat’ calls to people who would enjoy regular phone contact and friendly conversation.
Despite lockdown easing, those with underlying health conditions such as cystic fibrosis, severe asthma will continue to minimise their exposure to COVID-19 and each volunteer who steps forward is helping to keep people in the community safe.
The GoodSAM app puts volunteers in touch with people needing help. NHS Volunteer Responders now encourages volunteers to add all the languages they speak to their GoodSAM profile so they can be matched with people who would prefer to talk to a volunteer in one of those languages. The programme currently has volunteers who speak English, Urdu and Punjabi.
Mark Wilson, Co-founder at GoodSAM said “It’s fantastic that the GoodSAM app enables people to input the languages they speak. It means that we can connect with people from all communities across the country and ensure that everyone who needs help is able to access it.”
To apply to become an NHS Volunteer Responder, visit the NHS Volunteer Responders website . If you need support from the volunteers you can register by calling 0808 196 3646 (open 8am – 8pm, 7 days a week). Volunteer support is also available to people who are self-isolating because they or a member of their household have COVID-19 (excluding patient transport).
Nasir Jamil, 51, is an NHS Volunteer Responder from Tunbridge Wells and wanted to support his community. Nasir said:
“As soon as I heard about the NHS Volunteer Responders programme, I knew it was something I wanted to be part of, and I really felt that it was my moral duty to help those in need. There are so many people whose lives have been made difficult by this pandemic, and if I am able to do something to help, then I absolutely feel that I must.”
Rebecca Kennelly MBE, Director of Volunteering for Royal Voluntary Service said “The way that volunteers have stepped forward during the pandemic has been nothing short of amazing. Volunteering has brought people together over the last year in amazing ways, I would like to thank everyone who has stepped up to support the NHS and their community this year.”
Since the programme’s launch in March 2020, around 400,000 on-duty NHS Volunteer Responders have played a vital role in keeping people safe and have now completed more than 1.7 million tasks.
Those who apply will have the opportunity to support their community with six roles:
• Community Response volunteer: to collect and deliver shopping, medication or other essential supplies.
• Community Response Plus volunteer: to collect and deliver shopping, medication or other essential supplies for people with learning disabilities and other conditions
• Patient Transport volunteer: to give lifts by car to patients who are medically fit to attend routine medical appointments.
• NHS Transport volunteer: to transport supplies between NHS sites, and make medication deliveries.
• Check in and Chat volunteer: to provide telephone support to people who would enjoy regular phone contact and friendly conversation.
• Check In and Chat Plus volunteer: this is a peer-support role, provided by responders who are at risk from COV~ID-19 themselves. Regular telephone support and a ‘listening ear’ is offered to people who are also at risk or experiencing challenges as a result of COVID-19.
• Steward Volunteer volunteers help on site by guiding people to make sure the vaccination process runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible. They help ensure social distancing and identify people who need additional support. Recruitment to this role has been paused but you can register your interest for future vacancies.