Wed, 17 Feb 2021
“I HAVE to say, why me?” said Rosemary David in response to hearing she is Newbury Vaccine Centre’s Volunteer of the Week.
“There are people doing far more than me, I’m just one of the cogs in a very big wheel.”
But it is the cogs in the wheel that keep the whole operation going and Mrs David’s contribution is a very important part. She currently compiles the rotas each week, based on the hundreds of responses from volunteers when asked for their availability.
She said. “I am unable to go to the racecourse at the moment because I am shielding before an operation, so I asked if there was anything I could usefully do while I was stuck at home.”
Mrs David was one of the first volunteers when the call went out in December. She said: “To start with there were about 40 of us and so the rotas were not too complicated to put together, but now there are more than 300 it’s a bit more of a task.”
And it has been a steep learning curve.
“We really were starting from scratch and learning as we went along – we still are,” she said.
“We found an online automated form which allowed people to put their availability in and then it is supposed to fill in the different shifts, which made it much easier than sifting through all the emails.”
Easier until something goes wrong, as it did recently.
“We don’t know why, but people were being allocated the wrong days and times and we started getting phone calls and emails,” she explained.
As a result Mrs David had her work cut out to go back to the basic task of compiling the rotas based on all the different messages. It is a time-consuming, but vital, part of the whole exercise.
Mrs David, who lives in East Woodhay, was also able to do some shifts at the racecourse before she had to shield.
“I have been a meeter and greeter, a temperature taker and checked people in, as well as said goodbye as they leave,” she said.
“I should whisper this really, but I haven’t been put on car parks yet – maybe when I’m back at the racecourse that is where I’ll be put now!
“We’re all in the same boat and we all want the same thing.
“It’s such a team atmosphere and people are so grateful. I noticed, particularly in the early days, how many of the elderly had not left their homes since March. It’s really an extraordinary time.
“It’s a two-way thing – yes, the volunteers have all stepped up and helped, but equally we have had the pleasure of meeting patients and other volunteers. It’s not the best time of year, so to be able to do something with my time, and something useful, is a real bonus. Volunteering really is a good thing.”