Thanks are being given to the community of volunteers who are continuing to give vital support to health and care staff across the county, enabling them to deliver COVID-19 vaccinations as part of the national programme.

Thousands of people have given their time to help out across the vaccination sites in the Dorset Council and BCP Council areas which include GP led hubs, hospitals and the large vaccination centre at the BIC, which alone has seen nearly 2,000 people sign up to give support 12 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Karen Loftus is Chief Executive at Community Action Network (CAN). She said “The community response has been amazing – so many people wanting to step up to support the NHS and save lives.

We recognise that some people may have some questions or concerns about volunteering and I would urge them to get in touch, we can provide essential training and support for all our volunteers to keep them safe and have an enjoyable experience.”

Marie Waterman is Centre Manager with Volunteer Centre Dorset. She said “What we have seen is truly a caring, neighbourly, community response which has just been incredible. Over 2500 people have come forward to help those vulnerable in their local communities, we have enabled people to give their help and support which has kept vulnerable people safe, connected and well in Dorset.

We are still supporting people daily, and will continue to help those that need support. Now our volunteers are helping with the vaccination programme providing help 7 days a week, covering all the clinics across Dorset. Those people who have been for their vaccination have told us how well they have been looked after by the volunteers, to be met with a smiling, friendly face is really reassuring, especially for those who may not have been outside for almost a year! Volunteers truly have been amazing throughout this pandemic.”

If you would like to get involved in volunteering visit www.can100.org/volunteer-to-help-stop-covid-19 or https://www.volunteeringdorset.org.uk/.

Rob Skykes, Volunteer Leader at the Atrium in Dorchester said “Volunteers are assisting vaccine patients to get to the clinic and make sure they get to the right place at the right time. If they have any problems, we help them with those as well. Everyone wants to help.”

The NHS will let you know when it’s your turn to have the vaccine. People aged 70 and over who have not yet been vaccinated against COVID can now contact the NHS so they can be vaccinated by the middle of this month.

The easiest way to arrange a vaccination is through the national booking service which can be accessed at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination.

For the latest information about the Dorset COVID-19 vaccination programme, please see here: https://www.dorsetccg.nhs.uk/vaccinations/