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Callum is Newbury Racecourse Vaccination Centre's volunteer of the week

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Former St Bart's pupil says volunteering 'gives me a focus'

Callum directs cars at the vaccination centre at Newbury Racecourse
Callum directs cars at the vaccination centre at Newbury Racecourse

“I LOVE volunteering in the car park – it ticks all the boxes for me” – so says this week’s Newbury Racecourse Vaccination Centre’s Volunteer of the Week Callum Yates.

Mr Yates, aged 24, said: “It’s the most social thing I can do at the moment and keeps me busy.

“I love working in the car park – I’ve got a loud voice for directing the cars and it’s great.

“You can talk to anyone and everyone and at the moment helping others really helps me and gives me a focus.”

Mr Yates, who lives in Newbury and went to St Bartholomew’s School, is currently on furlough.

He said: “I went to Bournemouth Uni and studied sports development and coaching science, where I worked at Bournemouth FC for a while.”

When he graduated he returned home to Newbury and began working for Better – part of Greenwich Leisure Limited, which owns and runs leisure centres across the UK.

He said: “I was based in Swindon, where there are a few centres, but obviously because of Covid we have had to shut down.”

Mr Yates said he brought his grandmother to have her injection in January and realised that he could be of help at the centre. He was aware how lonely social isolation was for all ages and particularly the elderly.

He said: “I wondered how I could help to get the country out of lockdown and was also looking for something to occupy me.

“I brought nan down to get her vaccine and thought ‘this will keep me busy’ and so volunteered to join the team.”

Since then Mr Yates has done several shifts on car park duty and proved popular with volunteers and patients.

“There aren’t many others here my age, but everyone is really friendly and it’s a good way of getting out and feeling productive,” he said.

“Rain or shine I’m not bothered, I’ll work in all weathers and whatever shifts I’m given. I just love having something to do.

“I can’t wait to get back to work and hopefully things will get back to normal soon, but in the meantime helping out here gives me a real sense of purpose.”

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