This week is Volunteer’s Week and the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System has praised the many hundreds of volunteers who have given up their time to work at primary care centres, large vaccination sites and other locations to support the effort.
Volunteers have been a central part of the programme, giving up thousands of hours of their own time collectively to assist GPs and practice staff to get people a life-saving COVID-19 jab.
In a special video message posted on social media HERE , Dr Ed Garratt, Executive Lead of the Suffolk and North East Essex ICS, said: “Your contribution has been immense.
“It’s been incredible in terms of the support you’ve given to local communities to keep them protected and safe during the pandemic.
“I wanted to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for all of your leadership and time.
“It’s been truly amazing and truly extraordinary – thank you very much.”
Andy Jones has been a volunteer in Clacton for the past five years.
He has been supporting the vaccination hub at the former St Helena Hospice building in the town and is responsible for overseeing the volunteer roster.
Andy said: “It was wonderful to see the most elderly of our population going through and being inoculated.
“They were extremely grateful to have received their vaccination and it was uplifting for me to see the joy on their faces while working with a great team of volunteers – it made it all worthwhile.
“I am now responsible for rostering of all of the volunteers – we have 186 volunteers and I set the rota each week to support the Clacton and Harwich vaccination hubs so that we are able marshal our support in the most effective way possible.”
Dr Christopher Browning, a GP in Long Melford and chair of the West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We would not have been in a position to have run our clinics without the hard work and dedication of our volunteers like Andy.
“We cannot thank them enough for all of their hard work and support.
“Their commitment has meant people in our area are protected against COVID-19 and there is no doubt their effort would have contributed to many lives being saved.”