When you look at any vaccination site up and down the country, it’s always the friendly face of the volunteer that you see first. Thanks to our partnership with Bolton CVS and the friendly, giving nature of Boltonions, we have more than 100 volunteers, who are a key part of our team. They turn up whatever the weather, all hours of the day, evenings and weekends. When you visit any of our vaccination sites, whether it’s at the bus or in one of our clinics, you see and feel the friendliness they provide.
So when we were asked to step up the surge vaccine programme during May/June, with a target to vaccinate 15,000 people in a week, we knew 100% that we could rely on our volunteers and the people of Bolton to make it work.
Almost immediately, there was an immense coming together of people – offers of help from all over Bolton. Our traditional volunteers instantly stood by their beds, ready and eager to be called upon. On top of this, colleagues from Bolton Council, Bolton Hospital and the CCG instantly came forward, giving no thought to the fact that they’d need to give up their weekend, to do what needed to be done to get as many people vaccinated, as quickly and as safely as possible.
Then came along another army of volunteers – St John Ambulance. Over 40 people from right across the North West descended on Bolton last weekend and have continued to support us throughout this week. These are people with day jobs – teachers, hospitality workers, managers – they all gave up their time, for no pay, to vaccinate people.
We’ve even had deliveries of cakes, pasties, drinks and other treats from local businesses and residents, all wanting to give something to the effort, helping to keep everyone’s energy levels and spirits up.
Many people have told us how emotional this experience has been for them. People want to help people, do their bit to help protect lives and to get back to some normality, and we couldn’t do any of this without them.