By David Gledhill, Marketing & Communications Lead
IT has been a busy old week at the vaccination centres in both Torquay and Brixham, with thousands more injections delivered.
Our volunteers have been at full stretch, marshalling people as they arrive and ensuring that they enter and leave the centres in a timely and efficient manner, meaning more injections can be done.
The marshals and chaperones have been working alongside a well-organised team of medical staff from the NHS and doctors surgeries across the Bay and in Brixham with pharmacy staff from Day Lewis.
The age of recipients is now falling and whilst 40-50 years olds are receiving their first jabs, they are lining up with older people and more vulnerable people who are returning for their second vaccinations.
Such is the efficiency of the operations at both centres, smiling recipients are often apt to remark on how easy it all is and how quick the whole thing is from the moment they leave their homes to returning only a short time later.
Smiles light up even the most worried faces as the realisation that we may be reaching the end of this crisis sinks in and thankfully the numbers of cases continue to fall to relatively negligible levels compared to a year ago.
Even the cases that persist now rarely result in hospitalisation – there has been only one case in Torbay Hospital in the last few weeks and there have been no deaths from COVID for nearly a month in this area.
No wonder our volunteers take so much satisfaction from a job well done – they get to see the fruits of their labours whenever they are on shift when nearly everyone takes the time to thank them profusely.
Our volunteers come from all walks of life and from across the age ranges – from retirees to younger people, who are using the opportunity of being furloughed to give something back.
Kate Sampson is one such person who when faced with no work – she is an events coordinator and there haven’t been any events to coordinate for more than a year – decided to volunteer as a marshal.
She has been with us from the beginning (in January) and looks forward to her shifts which can last anything from three to five hours at the Riviera Centre in Torquay.
“I will be the first to admit that I am easily bored and although I have a small job at Shaldon Bakery two days a week, marshalling is a highlight.”
“The team is great and work incredibly well together to make sure that all goes smoothly and we always watch out for the more nervous ones.”
“The people who visit are always so grateful and the vast majority are smiling and say thank you.”
“I just wanted to give something back and hopefully we are all helping things to return to normal just that little bit quicker.”
One person who had cause to be grateful to the team last week was Carole Bond from Brixham when she attended the Riviera Centre for her second injection.
“It was all very easy, I was in and out in no time and everything ran really smoothly. I felt very safe and secure from the moment I arrived until the time I left the building just a few minutes later.”
“I felt really looked after and everyone knew exactly what they were doing.”
Unfortunately, some of our marshals have – in most cases reluctantly – had to return to work, meaning that we are again on the lookout for new volunteers to oversee the rollout over the next few months.
Marshal supervisor Matt Dart summed up the enjoyment the team experience on a daily basis: “No words can be expressed to explain the feeling you get when you see the eyes smile on an elderly person’s face. The look of joy on the faces of those who are vulnerable and have been shielding for so long. Giving comfort to those who can now see light at the end of what was a very long tunnel.”
“The biggest gift all our volunteers give is their time, helping to support OUR community across the Bay. Be part of our volunteering team helping to deliver, smiles, joy, and hope.”
Teams of marshals normally work in three to five-hour shifts from 8am until 6:30pm, Monday to Saturday. If you can help, please ring the Helpline on 01803 446022 or use the online form: bit.ly/torbayhelpline.