Lions president marks 100th volunteer shift as Covid jab centre steward
- Credit: Richard Allen
The president of Budleigh Salterton Lions Club has been thanked by the NHS for completing 100 volunteer shifts at the Greendale Business Park Covid vaccination centre.
Richard Allen did his 100th shift on Friday, January 21, having started at the end of February last year when the centre was based at Westpoint.
He has been working as a steward, meeting people when they arrive and guiding them through the various stages of the vaccination process. This includes getting extra help for anyone who is very frail, or is anxious about having the jab. Volunteers also monitor the post-vaccination observation area, alerting NHS staff to anyone who feels unwell.
In July Richard became a volunteer shift leader, responsible for briefing up to 14 volunteers on his four-hour shifts.
He said: "I am very proud to be part of the volunteer vaccination steward team helping to get the people of Devon vaccinated.
"The motto of the Lions is ‘We Serve’. I think volunteering has lots of benefits. It's good for your wellbeing and gives you a sense of achievement, you're helping to make a difference in the local community and society in general, it can help you feel part of the community and have a great time!"
Richard has helping the NHS since the start of the Covid pandemic. He registered with the Royal Voluntary Service and became an NHS Volunteer Responder, as well as doing some volunteer driving for Westbank Community Health and Care.
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He said: "When I heard that local volunteers were needed to help get people vaccinated it seemed the natural thing to do. If anyone has some spare time and is thinking of volunteering I would definitely recommend becoming a steward volunteer for the NHS. It has been an extremely rewarding experience, I have enjoyed every shift, even the ones in the pouring rain! I have met some lovely people and I have made some new friends. More volunteers are needed and I'm sure you won't regret it.
“I am still amazed at people's kindness and willingness to give their valuable time to help others, Equally, many of the people who come to be vaccinated are very appreciative of the volunteers and thank us, which is always nice.”
He added: “I have been fully vaccinated and I've had my booster because I'm confident this will give me and my loved ones the best protection from Covid-19 and and it will also help protect others. It's not too late to get your first, second or booster jab so I would encourage anyone to get fully vaccinated as soon as possible."
Richard completed his 100th shift at the same time as other long-standing volunteers. One volunteer, Paul Bray, had clocked up 250 shifts. They were all thanked by the RD&E NHS Trust, which posted on Twitter saying ‘a massive thank you and well done to some of our amazing volunteers at the Greendale Vaccination Centre’.