I'm an Oldham Community Response Volunteer

A Community Response Volunteer supports the local community when facing crisis or in need of emergency support. Since the beginning of the Covid pandemic Community Response Volunteers have performed a variety of roles, including knocking on doors to check on residents, volunteering at food banks, and supporting the test and trace and vaccination programmes. We are currently looking for Vaccination Guidance and Support Volunteers.

Helen is a Community Response Volunteer in Oldham. She told us about her experience as a volunteer, and how this experience led to an NHS job role.

"I volunteered with the purpose of gaining work experience. I was hungry to be out of the house and doing something in my community. The food bank and the volunteers had to cope with me whilst I was studying through exams and assessments! They helped me to keep calm prior to an exam or an assessment, as I find timed exams and assessments a little stressful. Volunteering helped me to be distracted from my studies, which with doing the medical administration diploma, was at times stressful.

"One of the volunteers, who was a teacher, gave me tasks I could practice in preparation for a proofreading task I had to do as part of one of the assessments. The other volunteers at the food bank also helped me through the challenges I was facing during the pandemic, and especially during the third lockdown. It was wonderful to be able to help people and be out of the house. It was a good feeling to be described as a social care worker, when all I was doing was packing bags of food for people in need. 

"The volunteering with Action Together at the vaccination clinics, especially at the OBA Vaccination clinic in April, has indirectly got me a job. It helped me to be accepted at the interview stage for the NHS work-based academy, in partnership with the Manchester College. I used an example from the vaccination clinic in my interview, and this led to the pre-employment coordinator at Manchester Foundation Trust placing me in the Eye Hospital of the Manchester Royal Infirmary for my work placement. After 20 days of work placement the Eye Hospital decided they liked me and are willing to train me up more, but this time on the bank and in a paid capacity. At the time of writing I have done two days of paid work.

"Thank you for the experiences."

From Action Together, thank you Helen and all our Community Response Volunteers for your time, effort and energy in supporting the community response to the pandemic.

Find community response and other volunteering roles on our volunteering page.