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The Trust has created a series of social media posts to highlight some of the ways staff have been working differently to help the frontline effort…well one of our Public Governors has done something very similar.

Norman Shaw is Public Governor for Chesterfield and answered a ‘call to arms’ that he received as part of his involvement with Joined Up Care Derbyshire. 

He said: “I received an e-mail in advance of the mass vaccination roll out asking for volunteers who may be able to support the programme within the community. I have time that I’m able to give and wanted to do something useful and constructive as part of the collective effort so answered back offering my help.

“Very well organised”

“A few weeks passed and I received a call, taking part in a 30 minute interview that was held virtually and it then progressed very quickly. They seemed to be a little overwhelmed at first as I imagine a lot of people took up the offer of a vaccine very quickly and the Derby Arena is a massive venue.

“I must say that the operation is very slick, really well organised and is working very well. As volunteers there are two different shifts you can work that are available to view online, either 7.30pm to 2pm or 1.30pm to 8.30pm so you can see when they need help and pick your slot. If you can’t do an entire shift then that’s perfectly fine as long as they know beforehand and all volunteers can be vaccinated as well so you feel very safe.

 “I’d say around 2,500 people have been coming through on a busy day which is phenomenal and gives you an idea of the size of the operation. The work we’ve done as volunteers is invaluable to that happening because, even though we’re not giving the vaccine, there is a lot of organisation to do and there’s the wellbeing of those coming for the vaccine to think about.

“Protecting themselves against Covid”

“Certainly in the first and second cohorts, a lot of the people coming in have either been shielding or self-isolating by following Government guidance. They may not have left the house for months, only to come to a very public place like the Derby Arena where there are hundreds of people. It doesn’t take much of a leap to realise how frightening and imposing that must feel. So, one of the jobs we did was to talk to them, reassure them, try and take their minds off it a little bit and remind them that when they step back out of the door, they will already have taken the first step to protecting themselves against Covid.

“It was also great to see the number of kind messages, donations and gifts that people had brought with them to support the people working at the centre. There was fresh fruit, doughnuts, food, drink and cards, very similar to the outpouring of support we saw at the hospital at the start of the pandemic. It’s wonderful to see people coming together to show their gratitude and the NHS is right at the centre again.

“I know there are some people unsure of having the vaccine but I’ve had my first dose now. The process is so well planned and you’re made to feel very safe. It was so reassuring for me to know that I’ve had it, that it could well save my life. I’m now 60 or 70 percent less likely to be seriously ill and you can’t put a price on that. There are the right people there to care for you, separate entrances and exits, social distancing at all times, surfaces are constantly sanitised, you’re made to feel very safe.

“I can’t praise the operation enough and I’m convinced that those that have volunteered play an enormous part in that. Whether it’s marshalling the parking, helping out with wheelchairs, offering up tea and biscuits if needed or just talking to people, it makes a big difference and I’m delighted to be a part of it.”