Minister Boris Johnson joined a video call to thank NHS Volunteer Responders at the One Riverside vaccination site in Rochdale.
Recognising the incredible effort of volunteers in vaccination centres across the country, the Prime Minister took the opportunity to thank NHS Volunteer Responder Stewards for their hard work and was taken on a virtual tour of the site in Rochdale. The Prime Minister also spoke to and thanked St John Ambulance vaccination volunteers at the Truro Showground in Stithians via the same video link.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“It was a privilege to speak to NHS Volunteer Responders and St John Ambulance Vaccination Volunteers in Rochdale and Cornwall today, to thank them for their extraordinary contribution to the vaccine rollout.
“Our brilliant volunteers have helped us get jabs into arms quickly and efficiently – providing millions of people with the reassurance that they are protected against the virus. We couldn’t do it without them, and I am incredibly grateful for their continued dedication and hard work.”
Steward Volunteers play a vital role on site, guiding people to make sure the vaccination process runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible. They also help ensure social distancing and identify people who need additional support.
The Prime Minister was introduced to NHS Volunteer Responder Stewards who were on site at the time, including Di Freeman who led the virtual tour.
Di Freeman, who is 59 and from Holfirth, is a retired HR Director and has been a volunteer with NHS Volunteer Responders since the first national lockdown in spring last year. In addition to her Steward Volunteer role, Di is also a Patient Transport volunteer, providing essential transport for patients to and from appointments. She also collects food shopping and prescriptions for those in need in her community.
Di said: “It was an honour to take the Prime Minister round the site. Volunteering as an NHS Volunteer Responder is something I am incredibly proud of and to be recognised by Boris Johnson today was really special. We don’t volunteer to get recognition, but speaking to the Prime Minister today certainly lifted the mood on site and let us all know that what we are doing is really important.”
The NHS Volunteer Responders scheme is delivered for the NHS by Royal Voluntary Service and the GoodSAM app and has recently announced that volunteers across all roles have completed a milestone 1.5m tasks.
Catherine Johnstone, CBE, Chief Executive of Royal Voluntary Service, said: “It is wonderful to have the Prime Minister virtually visit and thank our Steward Volunteers today. All volunteers deployed across the many vaccination centres are working incredibly hard to turn the tide on COVID-19 and ensure our communities are safely vaccinated against the virus. Each and every volunteer who has stepped forward nationally and locally to support this historic vaccination programme is a hero, and we are very grateful to the Prime Minister for recognising volunteers today.
St John Ambulance is supporting the NHS COVID-19 response, including providing volunteer vaccinators to deliver injections and many more volunteers who care for people before and after they receive their jabs.