National Volunteers’ week 1-7 June

The first week of June marks National Volunteers Week. It is a chance to celebrate volunteering and highlight the amazing work that volunteers do. The past year has been very different for so many reasons. Those who normally volunteer have had to react and change what they normally do and those who have never volunteered before have stepped forward due to having more time on their hands. Delivering emergency food parcels and prescriptions, telephone befriending, marshalling at vaccination clinics are just some of the many roles in which volunteers have proved vital to people’s health and well-being during this pandemic. We want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all. We know what a huge difference to made to people’s lives. One client who received prescriptions during the first lockdown said “Your volunteers have been amazing. I am shielding and without them, I don’t know what I would have done. Thank you just doesn’t seem enough!” The organisations were so grateful to those volunteers who stepped up. The staff at the Lower Earley vaccination clinic were one of these, “We literally couldn’t have done this without you! The volunteers are all amazing people who have given their time to help us, they aren’t just another pair of hands but throw themselves in the roles with willingness and a positivity which makes each clinic run smoothly.  They make each person feel welcomed as they show kindness to those passing through our clinics, help keep us all safe and they bring a lot of smiles with them. THANK YOU.” 

As restrictions ease and life beings to return to some sort of normality, charities are also getting back to normal, whether it is Scouts and Guide groups meeting up, volunteer reading mentors going into schools, lunch clubs for the elderly and charity shops reopening. These local charities and many more need your support. Volunteering is so flexible and can fit around life, work and family commitments.  

If you can give a couple of hours per week (or more!) and are keen to make a difference in your local community, please visit the Wokingham Volunteer Centre website , call 0118 977 0749 or email Helena Badger, Volunteer Services Manager at the Wokingham Volunteer Centre says, “We really want people to keep the feeling of community going and continue to help people in need. It really does change people’s lives; both those who volunteer and those who are helped by volunteers. Volunteering can help you gain new skills, meet new people, test the water for a career change, allow you to give something back and help a cause you really believe in.” 

One year on – 23 March 2021

So today marks one year since the first lockdown began. The last year has been difficult for so many of us for so many reasons. One positive to come out of it, is the time and dedication given by our hundreds of volunteers. Starting with our amazing prescription volunteers who signed up in March last year, followed by our Covid vaccination and lateral flow test centre volunteers coming on board early this year. To each and everyone one you, thank you! Through your hard work, we have been able to support thousands of people across the Borough. Essential medication has been delivered and life saving vaccines administered. We cannot thank you enough.

Volunteer Update, Friday 5th March

We continue to have a fantastic response from volunteers prepared to marshal at the vaccination clinics and Lateral Flow Test (LFT) centres in the Wokingham area. Your feedback has been used to help the processes run more smoothly for both the patients and the clinical staff at all sites, and your ongoing support has been really appreciated. Thank you. 

The online booking system for volunteers allows you to register your availability for specific dates and sessions, and it is being managed by one of our talented IT volunteers. We have a new record of less than 15 minutes for a clinic being booked up, so if you receive an email from us regarding new clinic / LFT Centre dates and then find there are no clinics visible, this simply means someone else was quicker and that all the volunteer slots have already been booked. 

Looking ahead we are still working closely with the clinic leads at Wokingham, Lower Earley and Woodley to understand the sessions that need to be supported based on the vaccine deliveries each week. Although deliveries have slowed down recently (as vaccinations move to the mass vaccination sites for the younger groups) we expect an upturn again when the second doses are due for patients at the end of March-start of April. Hence, we will continue to need many volunteers to support the local clinics going forwards.

In the last newsletter in late January, we mentioned that roles may be expanded at the clinics. Volunteer admin roles may be introduced at some of the clinics offering second doses to the older and more vulnerable age groups. More information will follow on this role. 

To-date we have supported 33 sessions at the Wokingham clinic in the Bradbury Centre; 19 sessions at the Lower Earley clinics (held in either the Salvation Army Hall or the Chalfont Centre), and 2 sessions at the Oakwood Centre, Woodley. These sessions have been supported by over 466 volunteers. The clinics in Wargrave and Swallowfield/Finchampstead have not requested resources from us to-date as they continue to use medical staff/other volunteers to help. The LFT Centres will continue to run six days per week at the Microsoft Campus and Shute End sites, and a third one will open at Sindlesham Court on 8th March with volunteers required to marshal from 15 March

Since starting on 10th February, we have supported 51 shifts at the LFT Centre on the Microsoft campus and 44 shifts at the LFT Centre at Shute End. This has involved 194 volunteers from the WVC. 

The vaccination programme and LFT Centres will continue for many months so keep an eye out for emails promoting new dates and sessions. Your time and enthusiasm to help are invaluable to all those involved. 

Thank you again for your ongoing support from the Wokingham Volunteer Centre team, from the CCG, PCNs and Wokingham Borough Council. 

Helena Badger and Caroline Atkinson 
Vaccination Clinic Volunteer Team 

Last Minute Cancellations

The clinic calendar may be visible again close to the clinic date(s) to allow slots freed up as a result of cancellations to be selected by new volunteer(s). This will typically occur outside office hours as the scheduling system is not actively managed during this time. If a cancellation has happened then a slot will appear, otherwise you are advised that “No Session is available”. 

Clinic Volunteers newsletter- 26 January

We have had an amazing response from volunteers prepared to register as marshals to support the vaccination clinics in the Wokingham area. Whereas some of you may still be waiting for the chance to attend your first shift, we have had some wonderful feedback from clinic leads regarding how the extra resource has already helped the vaccination process run more smoothly for both the patients and the clinical staff. Whether you have been helping patients with parking, manning the observation area (following vaccination) or doing other roles around the clinics it has been really appreciated.  Thank you. 

The online booking system has been a work in progress over the past couple of months. Huge thanks must go to one of our own volunteers at the Wokingham Volunteer Centre, who has put in so much hard work and so many hours to create the system from scratch. As we have mentioned, the response from people wanting to volunteer has been phenomenal, which has resulted in clinics being booked up in record time (in some cases, less than 20 minutes!) If you receive an email from us regarding new clinic dates and then when logging in, you find there are no clinics visible, this means all the volunteer slots have already been booked. 

We are working closely with the clinic leads to understand the sessions that need to be supported and the optimum number of volunteers required. Some sessions have been cancelled owing to delays in vaccine delivery or patients being handled faster than expected, but we will always try to give you the maximum notice of any changes.  In addition, we are in discussion about broadening the roles for volunteers at certain clinics so we may have more to offer including admin roles. We will let you know if this happens.  

To-date we have supported 13 sessions at the Wokingham clinic in the Bradbury Centre; 11 sessions at the Lower Earley clinics held in the Salvation Army Hall Mon- Fri and in the Chalfont Centre on Saturdays. These sessions have been supported by over 180 volunteers. Sessions are only scheduled when there has been confirmation of a vaccine delivery and this is mapped against clinical and volunteer resources and patients are contacted to attend.  We are also hoping to start supporting clinics in Woodley in the near future. To those of you who signed up to help at possible clinics in Wargrave and Swallowfield/Finchampstead, we did offer our support to these clinics to provide them with volunteers, but we presume they must be using medical staff/other volunteers to help as they have not, as of yet, reached out to us.

The vaccination programme will continue for many months so keep an eye out for emails promoting new clinic dates and requests to sign up for specific dates and sessions. Your time and enthusiasm to help are invaluable to all those involved. 

Thank you again for your ongoing support from the Wokingham Volunteer Centre team, from the CCG, PCNs and Wokingham Borough Council. 

Clinic Volunteers in Wokingham.Today

Your efforts in volunteering at the vaccination clinics are recognised by the clinic staff and those receiving the vaccine as reported in Wokingham.Today both online and in print.

Thanks to more than 500 of you across the borough who have signed-up. If you haven’t been able to find a slot to volunteer at a clinic yet we will be posting more clinics sessions that need your support soon.

Without you, these lifesaving vaccinations could not take place.

Another Week and Another Thank You

Thanks to all of the volunteers helping at the Covid vaccination clinics at Lower Earley and Wokingham this week. Feedback from staff, volunteers and those attending for the vaccinations has been so positive! Here are two of our many lovely volunteers who helped out.

Thank You – Week One

First week of supporting some of the vaccination clinics across the Borough. Over 90 volunteers helped in the first week! What an amazing start! Feel proud that we are able to support the NHS in these challenging times. Thanks to everyone who has helped so far and to all of you who will help in the weeks and months to come. We cannot do this without you!