Health Secretary Sajid Javid visits CVST
Community Voluntary Services Tendring, based in Rosemary Road, Clacton, welcomed Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid as part of his Road to Recovery Tour.
He spent time talking to staff and volunteers and took questions on a variety of topics including the lack of NHS dental spaces in the area.
Mr Javid held a Q&A session to find out what those in attendance liked about living in Tendring as well as their experiences with the NHS.
Sharon Alexander, CVST chief officer, said the visit had been a great boost for morale.
She said: “Our volunteers and staff couldn’t quite believe they were having this exclusive meeting with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.
“They were blown away.
“The room was full of energy and positivity following his departure.
“It really helped to invigorate the staff and volunteers – the visit showed they were appreciated for what they have been doing, especially over the past two years.
“We at CVST appreciate our volunteers day in, day out, but a visit like this just shows them how valued they are.
“I want all our staff and volunteers to know how highly regarded they are in the community and in CVST.
“The past two years have been particularly testing times and our volunteers, as always, stepped up to the challenge – in fact, they went above and beyond.”
Mr Javid had been doing a whistle stop tour of Essex when he stopped by for a visit.
The volunteers were initially invited to meet ‘a senior NHS manager’ and due to security reasons, they didn’t discover Mr Javid’s real identity until a few minutes before he arrived.
They all enjoyed a ‘thank you’ buffet lunch at CVST, provided by Crispins, in Rosemary Road, Clacton.
Mr Javid said: “Thank you CVST for the fantastic work you and all the volunteers are doing for the community in Tendring and going the extra mile in their work in the local community.”
He went on to praise Imperial House which is home to many services and activities.
He added: “I can see this is a vibrant and successful hub for the local community.”
The citation says: “When the call came through to CVST a few weeks before Christmas 2020 to support the first vaccination hub in the country with volunteers, it was all hands on deck to step up and help.
“Almost overnight, CVST’s volunteer co-ordinator, Nicola Vella, identified 21 existing volunteers who agreed to help in that first week.
“A massive volunteer recruitment programme followed, and the numbers soon rose to a total of 211 volunteers covering 3 shifts a day, 7 days a week in Clacton initially and within a month, in Harwich too.
“By the end of March 2021, volunteers had helped to process 99,999 vaccinations! Anyone who received their vaccination at the former St Helena site in Clacton or at the Fryatt Hospital in Harwich would have received a cheery welcome from one of the dedicated team who have racked up over 12,000 hours of volunteering in the past year and their volunteering efforts are set to continue for some time with booster clinics.
“Out in all weathers, they have been manning car parks, signing people in for their appointments, taking temperatures, filling in forms, keeping corridors flowing and providing invaluable support to our amazing NHS.”
At the end of 2021, CVST volunteers again rallied to the call for support.
Just before Christmas an urgent call for volunteers was made as the country raced to offer booster vaccinations to all eligible adults before the end of the year.
In a very short time, 100 volunteers were organised and manned the American-style ‘drive-thru’ vaccination centre at Harwich International Port, resulting in more than 3,000 vaccinations being given.
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