Appeal for volunteers to help at Covid vaccination centres

Torbay Weekly

An urgent appeal has been made for more marshals as the vaccine rollout continues and more volunteers return to work.

Teams of marshals have been working at the vaccination centres at the English Riviera International Conference Centre in Torquay and Brixham Rugby Club for the last four months and so far, more than 83,000 people in the Bay have received injections.

But as the second vaccinations are rolled out, and the restrictions around coronavirus begin to relax, people are going back to work and their normal daily lives leaving gaps in the rota of people needed to help the operation go smoothly.

More than 300 people came forward to support people arriving at the centres at the peak, and dozens more volunteered as drivers to transport people from their homes across the Bay.

However, in recent weeks many have had to reluctantly give up their roles because of work and home commitments and more people are urgently needed to swell the depleted numbers.

Tracey Cabache, operations director for Torbay Community Development Trust and spokesperson for the Torbay Community Helpline, said: “Every time we have asked for help, we have had a terrific response, the volunteers have been amazing.

“But the fact is as we come out of lockdown so many of them have other commitments that they must return to and that is leaving us with some gaps on the rotas.

“We expect that we will need help for several months yet as the second round of vaccinations gets underway, but we need lots of people to make sure it all goes as smoothly as possible.”

Matt Dart, marshal supervisor at the RICC, said: “All our volunteers have told us what a great experience it has been for them, a positive side of Covid.

"They have made new friendships, socially connected with others; some have even celebrated their birthday with us. While others have shared stories that have made us laugh.

“No words can be expressed to explain the feeling you get when you see the eyes smile on an elderly person’s face.

"The look of joy on the faces of those who are vulnerable and have been shielding for so long. Giving comfort to those who can now see light at the end of what was a very long tunnel.

“The biggest gift all our volunteers give is their time, helping to support our community across the Bay. Be part of our volunteering team helping to deliver, smiles, joy, and hope.”

Teams of marshals normally work in three to five hour shifts from 8am until 6.30pm, Monday to Saturday. If you can help, call the helpline on 01803 446022.