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Retail staff who are furloughed due to Ashgate Hospicecare’s charity shops being closed in lockdown have stepped forward to support the NHS with the vaccine rollout in North Derbyshire.
The partnership comes after the charity had called on its staff and volunteers to come forward to help protect the local community and save lives.
Staff who volunteer will be assisting at the vaccination centres, ensuring smooth arrival onsite of those coming for vaccination, efficient patient flow to the clinical assessment and overall onsite safety and security.
Some 76 Ashgate Hospicecare staff are currently on furlough, and the charity said that they had the ideal skills to help with the rollout efforts.
Barbara-Anne, Chief Executive at Ashgate Hospicecare, confirmed that staff had begun volunteering at the Winding Wheel in Chesterfield and that the charity had received huge interest from furloughed employees.
She said: “We are incredibly proud that staff from Ashgate Hospicecare are volunteering their time to be at the forefront of the fight against this dreadful virus. They have helped to ensure that the sites are safe and that as many people as possible are able to receive the jab.
“They are making a real difference to the national effort to get as many people vaccinated as possible. Not only are they supporting members of the local community, but they are there to support our own frontline workers to receive their vaccine.
“How wonderful that our team can come together, supporting each other and the wider community.”
Paul Street, 60, is a driver for Ashgate’s Furniture shop at Hasland and was one of the first to volunteer. Last week he began supporting the vaccinations at the Winding Wheel.
Paul said: “Putting myself forward as a volunteer was an easy decision because I wanted to give something back and help get the world get back to normal. We are living through a global crisis and it will take the actions of a lot of people to stop the spread of COVID-19, and we need that to happen sooner rather than later.
“It is incredibly rewarding volunteering at the vaccination centre, supporting people to overcome the fear of needles or the vaccine itself. The best part is seeing those same people come out relieved and happy, realising there wasn’t anything to be afraid of.
“At the end of the day, I’d rather be out there doing something to help rather than sat at home doing nothing, it’s a great feeling knowing that you are there to put people’s minds at rest as they walk in and direct them to where they need to go.
“It means a lot to me that I am helping make a difference in stopping this virus.”
Last week the charity announced that it was supporting their NHS colleagues by deploying all available nursing staff to its inpatient unit in order to relieve pressure at the nearby Chesterfield Royal Hospital.
Hayley Wardle, Director of Patient Care at Ashgate Hospicecare, said: “It’s really important that we do everything we can to support our colleagues during this time of national crisis. Our staff on the frontline are helping to keep people out of hospital, whether that is providing care on the ward or in a patient’s own home.
“It is heartening so many staff from right across Ashgate Hospicecare coming together to help stop the spread of COVID-19.”
To date, the pandemic has already cost the charity £2.4 million in lost revenue with the current lockdown expected to cost an additional £350,000 in lost sales.