I’m a very social kind of person but can get nervous in new situations. I go to a day centre a couple of days a week and love photography, musicals and Dr Who. When lockdown hit and everything closed, it was hard going out for just an hour a day. Sat at home you get bored looking at four walls – it’s just not good for you.
Through my family I heard about CAN and when things opened up I visited one of their Volunteer Fairs. With events throughout the year, they work to match you with a role you’ll enjoy. The Fairs are a good chance to meet lots of organisations and learn about the different roles they have. There really is something for everyone. If you don’t like meeting lots of people at once, CAN have regular pop-ups at local libraries where you can relax and chat one-to-one with one of their team.
I’d had experience volunteering at different events including being a Festival Maker at Bournemouth Air Festival, giving visitors help, directions and a warm welcome. After the pandemic I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do so arranged to meet Liz with my Dad.
I found out about volunteering at Russell Cotes Museum and the Red House Museum in Christchurch but wanted to try being a Covid Vaccination Marshal at the Vaccination Centre in Boscombe. Here you help people coming in for their Covid-19 vaccination, showing them where to go, providing reassurance or supporting people with mobility issues. I like talking to people, so it’s ideal for me.
You have training and to protect the staff and patients you need a negative PCR test before you come in. When I’m outside directing people, I definitely get my 12,000 steps in! At first I wasn’t keen on being inside, but I’ve tried to push myself out of my comfort zone and now it’s fine.
At the Vaccination Centre you really feel part of the team and you meet volunteers from all walks of life, from Police Officers to engineers. It’s lovely having this shared experience and meeting people with interesting stories. generally do one shift a week and you book them on-line. The communication is great and you have a briefing before you start so you’re aware of any changes.
It’s busy with 600-800 people in each day for their autumn booster, plus special clinics for children. I enjoy giving out the stickers. People love a sticker, it’s like you’ve passed something. It’s a cheerful place to be. You feel involved and part of something important.
CAN are so helpful and will find you somewhere you can be yourself. There’s always someone you can contact. Having their support has helped me try something new and given me confidence. I’ve gained lots of relevant skills and built up my CV. Now I want to take the next step and find a paid part-time role.