AS part of National Volunteers’ week, a member of the NHS has given a glowing report about his experiences of working alongside Burton Albion during lockdown.

Nigel Williams, Clinical Quality Improvement Manager of the Nursing and Quality Team, wanted to share his story of being based at the Pirelli Stadium Covid-19 Test Centre. He said: “Here are my personal thanks to those volunteers I have had the pleasure to get to know over the last 8 weeks. During my time as a Manager in the NHS and health sector, I have been inspired by many people from all sectors of life.

“During the current pandemic I have added admiration to this inspiration. It comes from the volunteers I have worked with over the last two months. I will explain. As the Health and Social Care Sector braced itself for the impact of Covid-19.

“I, like many, was tasked to oversee a response element from the NHS. This involved setting up two Covid-19 testing centres at local Staffordshire football clubs. To accomplish this I created my NHS teams of testers, planned the site setup and reviewed my processes in anticipation of the setup day.

“Setup day was frantic with equipment being assembled and contractors or staff swarming over both sites. During the afternoon I arrived at the Burton Albion Football Club site, to find an army of volunteers ready to help. All giving up their windy and rainy Saturday afternoon to do ‘what was needed’ to get the sites setup. They worked diligently and steadfast in the inclement weather, erecting fences and moving equipment (whilst making sure the anxious NHS manager was well hydrated with tea and coffee). This was my first glimpse of volunteers in action.

“Throughout the last two months Burton Albion Community Trust and Burton Albion Football Club have continued to provide the testing site with individual volunteers willing to support the NHS workers testing  key workers for Covid-19. They have helped us to keep the site safe, efficient and a great place to work.

“The ‘on-site’ volunteers helped to ensure that the sites ran smoothly with welcomed suggestions on the site running from their experience at the club of managing people. They provided the testing sites with a professional ‘front face’ by greeting some very anxious and bewildered public onto the sites. They have done this with a smile on their face, a comforting look or reassuring words to those attending the Covid-19 testing sites. They did all this without re-numeration or expected praise. As a manager the volunteer staff at Burton Albion have given me reassurance that my NHS Staff were well cared for and the public accessing the site were treated with compassion.

“Watching these inspirational volunteers in action and being in their presence has bought out my admiration. Whatever we needed, whatever the conditions and whatever the ask (and there were numerous changes) the volunteers have delivered and created a special safe place during this time of so much fear and trepidation. My heartfelt thanks goes to these inspirational individuals”.