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Caring Polly is Newbury Vaccination Centre's Volunteer of the Week

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Volunteer of the week - Polly Phillipson
Volunteer of the week - Polly Phillipson

POLLY Phillipson has been recognised for her work in looking after all her fellow volunteers at the Newbury Vaccination Centre.

The lead team said: "It is always really hard to single out one person, but Polly has been with us since we started this journey on January 13 and is always the one to stay late if needed, help out anywhere she can."

They said that Polly had become a familiar figure to her fellow volunteers in her role as welfare officer, bringing coffee to those freezing in the car park, sweets and biscuits to those in need of sugar and a much-needed break, especially to those on the surgery desk.

"Always with a smile and a cheery word she again excelled last week as we welcomed back our elderly patients for their second vaccines," they added.

Ms Phillipson, who lives in Newbury, said: "I work for the council as an education welfare officer and was encouraged to do the volunteer work when schools were closed to pupils and I had some extra time."

She added: "The experience was actually better than I expected - I remember after my first shift I came home buzzing.

"It was fantastic, meeting so many different people and to be doing something purposeful."

Welfare officers are distinguished at the centre by their blue hi-viz jackets. The majority of volunteers wear yellow, hi-viz and the leads are in orange, which all helps with identifying people when you need to speak to someone.

"During the really cold weather the people outside really needed looking after," Ms Phillipson added. "The temperatures were Arctic and it was important to make sure they were fed and got regular breaks - I would sometimes just tell someone to go in for a little while and stand in for them while they got a cup of tea and warmed up inside," explained Ms Phillipson.

Ms Phillipson is really impressed with the way the centre is run and how the lead team are open to suggestions from any of the volunteers.

"I helped set up a recycling area because of all the water and hot drinks that were being consumed by the volunteers on each shift," she said. "The leads were quite happy for us to place boxes in the rest area and then I take them home to be recycled - sometimes I have sackfuls."

Ms Phillipson, who has two children at university, said she is most looking forward to meeting up with friends and family again, without any restrictions.

"It was great to be able to see people at Easter, although it was extremely cold and I was quite glad to get back in the warmth," she said. "There have been some upsides to the lockdowns - mainly, not having to dress up in smart clothes for work every day!"

Well done Polly, thank you and all of your amazing colleagues for all your hard work.

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