Vaccine Surge Outreach – A snapshot!

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I started with Salford CVS as a Neighbourhood Volunteer Worker in the middle of the pandemic in 2020.

It was difficult to start a new job at that time, especially focussing on emergency response. Our team of six, have been involved in many different tasks over the last few months which have been both challenging and in many ways very rewarding. We have organised volunteers to do shopping, collect prescriptions and walk dogs for vulnerable people or those who have had to self-isolate, delivered food parcels to local school children and supported volunteers who have been involved in wellbeing conversations at the vaccination centres. The variety of the activities keeps both us and the volunteers busy.

In the last few weeks we have started to see a rise in the infection rates of Covid-19 in the Salford area. Our team of staff and volunteers have been involved in an outreach programme to encourage people in Salford to get their Covid-19 vaccination, raise awareness around helping prevent the spread of the virus and the importance of regular lateral flow testing.

We have had a really good time working alongside the Health Improvement Team from Salford City Council. We have been travelling around Salford with the vaccination bus, parking in various places like supermarket car parks and popular shopping areas. By being visible and easily accessible we have been able to encourage hundreds of people a day to get their first dose or second dose of the vaccination.

I was able to work with one of our brilliant volunteers, Patricia. Due to Covid-19 restrictions it has been difficult to see our volunteers face to face so this was a fantastic opportunity for Patricia and I to finally meet and get to know each other better. We were given a full brief from the Health Improvement Team and leaflets to give to people and we were based around Sainsbury’s shopping area in Ordsall. We started to walk around chatting to everyone we could to inform them about the vaccination bus. We spoke to some lovely people who were proud to tell us that they had had both doses (some even asked us about the booster). We were able to direct shoppers to the bus and they thought it was a great thing to be able to do, some of them also called their friends to tell them that the bus was there. We did come across some negativity and hesitancy about the vaccination but we were able to give out the information which had the answers to some frequently asked questions, especially about the myths surrounding the vaccine. Patricia and I had a great time together chatting to each other as well as the shoppers.

On one occasion Patricia and I, along with some of the other volunteers, went back to the vaccination bus to see how things were getting on. When we got there we were told that they had had to go and get more vaccines because they were coming to the end of the supply. This was great news to us as we could clearly see that our conversations and signposting had resulted in people getting their vaccination.

After speaking to some of the other volunteering teams they had gone further afield into the local area and speak to workers on a construction site, go into local shops and speak to their owners and their customers. One of our volunteers is multi-lingual and was able to give information in different languages. With a huge, ongoing team effort we are continuing to speak to as many as we can and offer encouragement and show the benefits of having the vaccination, not only for themselves, but for their families and friends and the community as whole.

It has been a hard eighteen months for so many reasons and I am proud that the work we have done over this time. It is a great feeling to know that we are helping and making a difference.

Salford CVS
Author: 
Jane Williams, 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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