My first volunteer shift at The Pyramids was on 23rd February, I was unsure what to expect when turning up for the first time. What I found was an extremely well organised facility and helpful NHS Lothian Staff, Vaccinators, Security & First Aiders. I was made to feel very welcome.
When volunteering I personally like the opportunity to welcome attendees and try to put them at ease prior to their vaccination.
It was also encouraging to note the enthusiasm of many attending to be vaccinated – you could sense the feeling of positivity and that something is actually happening to get us back to some sort of normality. When chatting with attendees in the rest area they have been very positive on how well organised the vaccination centre is. I continue to enjoy my volunteering experience and look forward to doing more volunteering in the future.
Volunteering at the vaccination centre at the Pyramids, Bathgate has been a very positive experience for me. My role involves welcoming patients and helping to guide them through the system, managing queues and answering any queries that arise, as well as helping to identify anyone who might need extra support. I have enjoyed meeting a variety of patients, NHS staff and volunteers during my sessions, and feel part of a team doing a very worthwhile job. I am well aware of the pressures the NHS has been under in the last year and feel a sense of achievement that I am able to contribute in some way to the vaccine rollout.
I signed up to volunteer with VSG for two reasons. Firstly, I wanted to do my own little bit to help in the COVID vaccination process that I strongly believe is for everyone’s benefit; and secondly, as I am retired, I now find I have free time in which I am able to put to good use.
Working at the Pyramids Centre (old Motorola plant) in Bathgate the volunteers here work three shifts between 8am and
6.39pm. We work in tandem with the reception staff; vaccinators; specialist cleaning team; first aiders and security personnel.
I have now done a number of shifts and can say every person I’ve worked with to date has been perfectly friendly, hard
working and good communicators – which is essential. We move around every 30 mins or so to avoid being in one post too long.
Our main role as a volunteer is to direct the people being vaccinated in the proper direction as it is vital, we maintain a safe, secure and hygienic one-way system to keep everyone safe – after all, it is a massive building and a huge undertaking.
Having a friendly attitude when speaking to those queueing to get their vaccination is vital, and reading the people is just as
key. Some are extremely anxious, but most are delighted to be getting theirs. When we recognise anyone who is anxious, we try and keep chatting to them hopefully putting them at ease.
A lovely story from one shift is of an elderly lady who had a bad reaction to an immunisation as a child and had taken NO injection since. She had spoken to her GP as she was intent on having her COVID jab. The nurse who gave her the injection brought her to Michelle, one of my fellow volunteers and asked her to keep an eye on her. Michelle stayed with the lady for about 30mins until she was ready to go, which was after our shift had ended. She then walked the lady to her waiting transport. Now to me, that summed up WHY we are doing what we do. It inspired me so much that I now paraphrase this lady’s tale in trying to calm anxious people in the queue.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my volunteer shifts and to see the appreciation in people’s faces at the end of the process is fantastic.
My experience of signing up to the volunteer programme has been a completely positive one, from the first email I sent enquiring about it, I have been kept informed and any email sent has been answered quickly and efficiently, the induction day was well organised too apart from the machine not working to print our passes but even that was quickly resolved, and the staff could not have been more helpful in sorting it out.
I’ve only done 2 shifts so far in the vaccination centre at the Pyramids but both have been very enjoyable, lots of people have commented and thanked me for being a friendly face and reassuring them as they come along for their vaccine because let’s face it no one likes getting an injection so if I can help in just some small way by making their experience a little bit better then I find that very rewarding, it also feels really good to be helping in this small but important way to help us all finally get out of this pandemic and get life back to some sort of normality. Looking forward to my third shift tomorrow.
Thank you for giving me this opportunity.
My name is Catherine O’Day and I have lived in Livingston Village for over 20 years. Although I am still a director of the business, I set up in Livingston 12 years ago, I am mainly retired now with time on my hands therefore I decided to volunteer to help at the Pyramids vaccination centre when it opened last month.
Once accepted as a volunteer, I received regular emails updating me on the process for registering and booking shifts using the 3Rings website. The registration process which required me to attend a short meeting in Bathgate was very well organized and efficient. At this meeting I received & signed various documents regarding health & safety, data protection & confidentiality and I was issued with my security badge which would allow access to the staff entrance at the vaccination Centre.
On the morning of my first shift, I arrived bright and early at 7.45am. On the way in I met a member of the NHS staff who kindly showed me the way through the maze of the Pyramid site to the staff quarters where I met the rest of the volunteering team including Colin who was the volunteer co-ordinator on duty that day. After signing in, Colin took me on a tour of the vaccination centre, explaining as we went what was required of me at the various volunteer stations. Then it was straight to work.
As volunteers, recognizable by our purple tee shirts, we are mainly required to welcome patients to the centre, directing and guiding them to the relevant place to register for their vaccine, then on to the vaccination booths and finally to the seating area for 15 minutes before heading off to get on with the rest of their day. The vaccination centre setup is extremely well organised and runs like clockwork and the atmosphere is one of calm and efficiency. All staff from vaccinators to security, cleaning staff, nursing and admin staff are friendly, helpful and happy at their work. Even on busier days patients very rarely have to queue for long to get their jab and many have commented on how well run the process is.
This is the first time I have volunteered and have found the whole experience enjoyable and satisfying.