Josie Kennedy

Josie has been a volunteer marshal at the Business Design Centre in Islington since March 2021.

Josie explains that volunteering has been a great way to meet people, whilst supporting a worthy cause.

Why did you decide to volunteer at a vaccination centre?

I had previously been doing various volunteer roles within the NHS, and when the opportunity came about to volunteer to support the vaccination programme at the Business Design Centre it was actually perfect timing, because my other volunteering roles had come to an end. Supporting the vaccination programme seemed like a brilliant idea, and I had some experience of marshalling through previous voluntary work.

What does your role involve?

The role mainly involves giving people directions and making them feel comfortable throughout their visit to the vaccination centre. The Business Design Centre is quite a big space, so being available to guide people through is really important.

What training/preparation did you receive?

When I started in March, all of the volunteers and NHS staff received a briefing to explain what was required. At the start of every afternoon shift, we have a briefing to update us on what has happened on the morning shift. When I first started, I found this really useful as were given key information to help us in our role.

What’s the best thing about volunteering at a vaccination centre?

I think the best thing about volunteering at the vaccination centre is that I have had a regular commitment in the diary. I enjoy being social and meeting people, and this has given me the opportunity to meet people after being in lockdown. It is also a great feeling to know that you are supporting a worthy cause.

Has anything surprised you about your experience?

What I found surprising was that no two days are the same. Some days I might be in an area where I need to interact quite a lot with the people who are coming for their vaccination, and other days it might just be a case of telling people where to go. I was also surprised by the how much people want to talk to you and how happy they are to be there. 

What would you say to someone thinking about volunteering at a vaccination centre?

I would say just do it! On paper, it might not sound like the most exciting thing you will ever do, but meeting and interacting with all the other volunteers and the NHS staff has been great. 

If you are looking for work experience as part of searching for a new job, the skills acquired by interacting with new people is invaluable.