Healthcare volunteers who underpin vaccination effort shortlisted for national award

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Volunteers from St John Ambulance Cymru, British Red Cross and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board are shortlisted for the ‘Partnership and Systems working in volunteering’ award at this year’s Helpforce Champions Awards 2021.

The teams have played an essential role in the vaccination roll-out, delivering care and support to people at vaccination centres in Cardiff, the Vale of Glamorgan, and the surrounding area.

Thousands of volunteer hours have been given to the programme which ramped up its efforts in mid-January. Hundreds more hours are expected as the booster programme gathers pace.

Red Cross volunteers have been welcoming people to the centres and giving them support before they receive their vaccine and alongside them, our vaccination care volunteers, who are trained in first aid, have been caring for people after their vaccinations and delivering assistance to people who need extra support.

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board volunteers have also played an instrumental role guiding people through vaccination centres as well as providing emotional support where needed.

Volunteers have been vital in ensuring clinical staff are freed up to get on with the job of giving vaccinations.

The award recognises the importance and value of bringing volunteers together to support the wider community and shortlisting comes off the back of one of the most turbulent 18 months for the healthcare sector and its volunteers, whose services have been needed more than ever.

“The determination, passion and resilience of our volunteers has been outstanding, and we’re extremely thankful to everyone who has selflessly come forward to give their time.

The pandemic has united us all and we’re proud to have worked alongside Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and the British Red Cross in supporting the delivery of this vital programme.”

St John Ambulance Cymru, Chief Executive Officer, Helen Smith

"This nomination is a wonderful achievement and recognition of the collaborative efforts and dedication that went into the mass vaccination roll-out. The outpouring of support has been phenomenal, and we are grateful to all the fantastic volunteers who have tirelessly dedicated their time supporting people in the Cardiff and Vale area to get their vaccines since early January.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought voluntary agencies, public and private sector even closer together to help those worst affected and we are incredibly proud to be part of this partnership with Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and St John Ambulance Cymru."

Kate Griffiths, British Red Cross Director for Wales 

Angela Hughes, Assistant Director of Patient Experience at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, added

“I am delighted that the Health Board, British Red Cross and St John Ambulance Cymru volunteers who provide vital support at our Mass Vaccination Centres have been nominated for a national award. They provide a welcoming greeting, reassurance, information, and a vital post vaccination observation role. Helping to keep everyone safe and provide a positive experience. They are so valued by our staff and people who attend for their vaccination.”

“At the beginning we didn’t always have volunteers every day. That meant we had to release our own staff to do the meet and greet part. It depleted the number of clinicians. Having volunteers means that doesn’t slow us down. We couldn’t operate without them now.”

Lynne Cronin, part of the NHS team working on the vaccine roll-out for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

The Helpforce Champions Awards take place annually and celebrate the invaluable contributions made by volunteers across the UK.

The teams are also up for a People's Choice Award. You can cast your vote for them here. Voting closes Friday 29th October 2021.

This year’s awards take place Friday October 29 and will be announced on Helpforce social media pages.

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