An Epping Forest charity has been co-ordinating the volunteer support for two vaccination centres in the district since the roll-out of the national vaccination programme in December.

NHS Primary Care Network West Essex CCG approached Voluntary Action Epping Forest (VAEF) to assist with the recruitment of volunteers for the Covid-19 vaccination programmes at St Margaret’s Hospital in Epping and Buckhurst Way Clinic in Buckhurst Hill. Voluntary Action Epping Forest has recruited volunteer stewards to assist at these vaccination sites and co-ordinated the rota of shifts for volunteers on each open vaccination day.

VAEF staff and volunteer stewards directed the flow of traffic into car parks, assisted with parking spaces, provided wheelchairs to people with mobility problems, managed the one-way flow of patients in and out of the Vaccination Centres and generally helped with the smooth running of the vaccination process.

Jeanette, aged 82 from Epping, who had her vaccinations at St. Margaret’s Hospital in December and March said: “The volunteers at St. Margaret’s were amazing. I must admit I was very worried about going outside my house and being in contact with people after a year at home, but the volunteers were so helpful and reassuring.

"I am so grateful that there are so many lovely people out there, willing to give up their time to help others in our community. When I went, the weather was terrible and they all stood outside for ages in the cold! Thank you everyone”.

VAEF volunteers have so far provided more than 3,300 hours at these two sites over 87 dates, equating to 40 volunteer hours on each vaccination operating day. VAEF staff and volunteers have assisted with the running of these sites to ensure the safety and wellbeing of people in the community during the Covid-19 pandemic.

If you have not yet received your vaccine and you are aged 30 or over, you can currently book your vaccination now by visiting: Book or manage your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination - NHS (