Only a few days in to the new year, our office put out a call to our Street and School Pastor teams regarding the COVID vaccine. However this wasn’t about taking the jab, but taking to the mission of helping others’ as they received theirs.
Following a strong response from our volunteers, we soon had contact with local coordinators and were able to begin to provide our support.
Vaccinations began in the hundreds on 1st February, with local newspaper The News covering the next step in our fight with the pandemic. Their article continues from here.
Today people will begin arriving at the St James’ hospital site in Milton to get their Covid-19 jab.
And with more than 1,000 appointment slots a day, volunteers will have their work cut out to direct traffic, welcome people in and support those feeling anxious.
Joining the wave of Hive volunteers and members of the Royal Navy are Portsmouth’s street pastors.They have swapped their pre-pandemic beat of helping people stay safe on a night out for helping at the centre.
Jackie Hunt, resource manager for the group, said: ‘Usually we are helping out with those using the night time economy and walk the streets of Portsmouth between 10pm and 3.30am to help people get home safe, clean up sick and listen to anyone in need of a chat.
‘With the closure of that, the council have moved us to patrol Southsea seafront and now we will also be helping out at the vaccination centre as well.
‘It means such a lot to all of us that we can help out.’
Street pastor Tessa Most will be among those volunteering at the centre and will also be getting her jab on Friday.
She said: ‘We are here to help make everything run smoothly and listen to those who are in need of a chat and a bit of support.
‘I will be getting my jab here on Friday which is great.’
Nigel Fisher, from Cosham, said: ‘I have lived in Pompey all my life and it is great to be able to give something back to my community in a time of need.’
Letters have already started being sent out to priority groups in the area.
Those who have been invited by letter will be able to use the national booking system to get a slot at the centre. They can also call 119.
Mary Ecclestone, from Hayling Island, added: ‘We want to make sure everyone who comes along for their jab feels welcomed and comfortable.’
Article taken from The News, 01.02.2021 https://www.portsmouth.co.uk/health/coronavirus/coronavirus-portsmouth-street-pastors-volunteering-mass-covid-19-vaccination-centre-st-james-hospital-3118935