Volunteers support Covid 19 – Vaccination response

20th December 2021

Volunteers have been vital in the vaccination rollout across Cumbria, supporting patients, helping manage car parks and directing and supporting patients.

Northern Fells Rural Community Development Group received £7,636 from the Cumbria COVID-19 Response Fund to assist Keswick and Solway Primary Care Network and Caldbeck Surgery to deliver more than 45,000 vaccinations at Wigton Community Hospital.

The funding contributed to the Lend a Hand Coordinator’s salary to organise and support more than 150 volunteers. Over the past year, more than 2,500 vaccination clinics were delivered, each attended by up to six volunteers over a 12-hour period.

Libby Graham, Fundraising Coordinator, said: “The logistics of organising the volunteer rotas for the vaccination rollout is complex and time consuming, particularly as we are dependent on the availability of the vaccination – this can be cancelled or made available at very short notice.

“We’re grateful to every volunteer. Some returned to work and for a while, we struggled to keep the sessions covered. We conducted a short recruitment drive when things opened to ensure we had enough people to carry on.”

Picture: North Cumbria CCG (January 12, 2021) – Times and Star

Dr Richard Massey, speaking for the surgeries that make up the Primary Care Network, said: “The vaccination programme simply would not have been possible without the massive contribution from the Northern Fells Group volunteers. They have supported us through rain, winds and snow to deliver an unprecedented vaccine service to our population. Volunteers have often responded at short notice to the ever-changing vaccine delivery schedule to ensure that clinics could go ahead. They have shown unwavering kindness and support for our most frail and vulnerable patients, and we cannot thank them enough for their contribution.”

The NHS have since contributed £5,000 to the project to continue it until March 2021 when the programme will be subject to evaluation.