UON staff add to NHS 750,000 strong volunteer army

Date 9.04.2020

Two University staff members have found time in their busier than ever schedules to join the ranks of the NHS ‘volunteer army’ to support their communities.

Nick Allen – Executive Officer, Vice Chancellor’s Office – and Becky Bradshaw – Director of Estates and Campus Services – both answered the call to become NHS Volunteer Responders, joining around 750,000 other good-hearted members of the public.

This week, they both received confirmation they would be out and about in their local areas, Rugby and Northampton respectively.

They will be on hand during any free time they have at evenings and weekends to pick up food and medicines for people who can’t leave the house and taking hospital patients who are medically fit to be discharged back home.

Further duties could see them transporting much needed equipment, supplies or medication between NHS services and sites or for pharmacies.

Nick explains why he ‘joined up’: “My commute to and from work is approximately two hours and as I am now predominantly working at home, I thought I could use these two hours for good use.

“I am always looking for opportunities to follow the University’s Changemaker ethos and go out into the world to do something good. This is a great opportunity to help the NHS cope with the anticipated demand for its services and for people who, in these very unique and challenging circumstances, find themselves isolated.”

Becky adds: “Once the scale of the crisis became clear, I felt I had both a professional and personal duty to offer assistance in the collective fight against the virus. We are all affected by it in one way or another, but a good proportion of the communities we belong to are having a particularly tough time dealing with complex medical needs, caring responsibilities and prolonged isolation and loneliness.

“I’m proud to be part of a national effort to support the most vulnerable in society. It’s a challenging time for us all but if I can bring just one smile to an individual or family in need it will have been worth giving up my spare time. I just wanted to play my part in supporting the community.”

Back in late March when the health service called for members of the public to join their ‘NHS Volunteer Responders’, they hoped they would meet their original target of 250,000 people.

Little did they know that so many would come forward – more than 750,000 after just a few days – that in under a week they had to pause recruitment.