Volunteer Stories – Helen

Read how Helen helped with the COVID-19 vaccination process and how she is helping to support her community.

Volunteers’ Week – It’s a chance to say thank you for the contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK and a great way to recognise and thank all our volunteers, for all the amazing things they’re doing to help us make a difference.

Helen’s plan for retirement had been to include some voluntary work, but the pandemic meant that the availability of volunteering roles was curtailed. She was very keen to do something useful with her time and make use of the organisational and people management skills that she had acquired during her 36 years as a teacher. She enjoys keeping busy and the thought of wall-to-wall daytime TV frightened her.

‘At the start of the pandemic, I enrolled as an NHS volunteer and I undertook a variety of Community Response tasks via RVS and the Good Sam app. This involved doing shopping and collecting prescriptions for vulnerable and shielding clients. RVS also did a DBS check for me and I then was added to their list of volunteers for high-risk clients. In 2021, when vaccines became available, I started doing Stewarding shifts at a variety of centres via the Good Sam app and via VAL.

Volunteering has allowed me to feel that I am doing something useful for others, whilst making use of the skills I have acquired over the years. It has also saved me from boredom during the pandemic, when opportunities were very limited. I enjoy meeting people and working as part of a team. During this challenging time, I have had the privilege of working with many hardworking people, both volunteers and paid staff, and I have looked forward to each shift I have done.

I have learnt a lot about vaccinations! I have learnt how medical settings are organised and how best to communicate with a wide range of personalities, including some who were less than happy.

Thank you for the opportunity you have given me to feel useful and to keep sane during the pandemic. I have enjoyed exchanging emails with VAL and have found the team there to be very efficient and considerate.’

Get involved in volunteering

If you’re inspired to get involved in volunteering, you can find out more on our VAL Volunteering website.

If you’re a voluntary, community or social enterprise organisation who wants more support with recruiting or managing volunteers, you can get in touch with us via:

0116 257 5050