Smile with my eyes

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I have been involved from the beginning supporting the roll out of the COVID 19 vaccine.

I have witnessed the huge amount of effort that goes into setting this up and very much all hands on deck and our wonderful volunteers who give their time to help out with the many tasks that need doing!

When I share with people the various projects I’ve been involved in and I mention supporting the vaccination clinics, it is so often greeted with “wow, that is fantastic”

What is fantastic for me is the people, our people within our community. My eyes are opened to those who are alone, those who are vulnerable, frightened, those with curious questions!

My eyes are opened to the queues of people, who wait patiently, nervously with brevity and those with no fear but a sense of excitement that hope, health and protection is offered in this space.

I have had the most wonderful and interesting and often emotional conversations when people take a seat for 15 minutes after they’ve had had their jab. I have learnt so much about others, their stories they share with you. What a wonderful role to be amongst strangers on seats who we can so easily connect with by the simple word of “Hello” and you see where the conversation leads.

Talking to people is often easy to do, some may not want to talk, others sit in silence, some read and many others are glued to their phones, but I can honestly say hand on heart that anybody I have approached has been welcoming.

I have learnt that I am a people person. I care for people, I listen, and I understand.

I have witnessed patients with anxiety, supported people when they have “felt a bit wobbly”

I have tried to reassure people they will be ok, shared tips on keeping calm.

I have seen people cry, where they have wiped their tears and apologised…I have often wondered why we feel the need to apologise for showing our emotions, there is no harm in this, it is healthy, a release, let the tears flow.

I have also been involved in various outreach sessions within the community to try to signpost people to pop up sites across the city where you can turn up and get your jab.

Again, I get to meet all sorts of people from walks of life. I love nothing more than informing people that the vaccine bus is on site and they need either jab and you see them in the queue or sat on the bus afterwards and I think…. “I made that happen”

I love nothing more when you talk to somebody and they contact a family member who needs a jab and they arrange to come down!

There are people that rush by, others with their own opinion regarding the vaccine.

I have learnt the power of social media, its influence both positive and negative.

As a Mum myself, I enjoyed a conversation with a Mum to be who only recently came for her first jab.

She informed me how she had been so influenced by people that she had put it off, I was aware of the lack of take up in Mums to be as I had listened to something on the radio whilst driving home.

It was great to see her there, making her own mind up, making her own judgement.

I am so grateful to have been a part of this huge piece of work, I have met some amazing people along the way and I would like to think I have made a difference and smiled through my eyes whilst wearing my mask!!

Salford CVS
Author: 
Jenny Capper, Neighbourhood Volunteering Worker

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5 Irwell Place 
Salford, M30 0FN

Tel: 0161 787 7795 
Email: office@salfordcvs.co.uk

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Salford CVS is the city-wide infrastructure organisation for the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector; providing specialist information, advice, development support and opportunities for influence and collaboration.

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