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As we begin to turn the page on the COVID-19 pandemic, we take a moment to hero some of the volunteering champions that have been helping make the national vaccination drive possible. Below is Judith’s story.
When the announcement was made that the New Malden & Worcester Park Primary Care Vaccination Centre had received their first vaccine shipment on 15th January, Judith started volunteering the very next day. A restaurant supervisor with a bubbly personality, back then Judith was on furlough and she was keen to meet new people and gain new skills.
She also saw volunteering as an opportunity to improve her mental health. She describes missing the social element from her regular employment and how its absence had impacted her generally positive outlook on life. “I’m a people person,” she explains.
“I work in a pub and there we get all sorts of people. And to not have that social interaction really put a strain on my mental health.”
Her self-described “dark days” are now well behind her however. “It’s such a positive atmosphere [at the Vaccination Centre]. The Lead GP is always so positive about getting jabs into people’s arms – it really rubs off. And the fact that we’re all really appreciated is probably the best thing,” she reveals, describing coming home after every volunteer shift feeling elated knowing that she’s contributed towards the global effort against COVID-19. Judith also depicts a picture of true camaraderie amongst the volunteers and says she’s developed a true friendship with some of them. “I never thought a lot of us would become so close. I made some fantastic friends.”
It’s probably no surprise she’s connected with so many volunteers considering Judith has taken on a number of different roles since she started volunteering back in January. She’s volunteered as a Traffic & Parking Marshall, a Welcome & Wayfinding Volunteer, she’s been on administrative duties at the check-in desk and even helped at a local surgery to assist with booking patients in to get their vaccines. “As new roles came up I just wanted as much experience as possible,” she explains, adding that it’s allowed her to widen her contact network and enhance her skill set even further.
Now back at her full-time job, Judith hopes to continue volunteering. She describes the experience as fulfilling and heartwarming and recommends others get involved. “I’ve dragged my dad into it,” she says cheerfully.
“He wanted to give back to the community as well, so I dragged him along when there was a gap to fill!”
Would you like to join the Vaccination Programme or volunteer for a local charity? Check out the current openings here.
Want to share your volunteering story? Get in touch!
This article was written by Dany Rubbo, Comms Volunteer at Volunteering Kingston.
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