During the pandemic thousands people from across Dorset from all walks of life stood up to support their community in many different ways. One was to support the NHS and save lives through the vaccination programme.

We were at the forefront of supporting the vaccination effort at one of the largest vaccination sites in the UK, at the BIC in Bournemouth, and in some GP surgeries and pharmacies too. What started as a three month project in January 2021 is still going strong now focused at the Bournemouth Vaccination Centre at Kings Park Hospital, where we’re also now supporting lots of other vaccination programmes.

At the heart is the amazing team of volunteer marshals who have so far given the NHS and their community the gift of over 93,000 hours of their time, to make the process less scary and more efficient.

Some of our volunteers have been with us since day one, they tell us it gives them a purpose in life, has improved their mental health and enabled them to make new friends.

Ensuring there is support on hand day to day for the volunteers has been an essential ingredient. Our Senior Volunteer Coordinators are not there to supervise but to enable and support the team, ensuring they feel safe, supported and valued. That’s why they keep coming back and making this amazing contribution.

We asked some of our vaccination marshals about their experience. 

Geraldine told us “I started volunteering at the BIC and it was great part of something which is still running two years down the line. The volunteers are lovely and it nice to feel like you are doing something positive. I originally started for selfish reasons - being able to leave the house and be with such amazing company. CAN offers great training, they allow you to ask stupid questions and eat biscuits. Using the Team Kinetic app allows you to be flexible and book shifts when you want them.”

Janet shared what volunteering has meant to her. “Volunteering for me is about giving something back and helping others. There is great team spirit, and everyone supports each other. It always feels good when you hear the clinical team say they could not run the site without us. Being here has helped me with my mental health”



Ex NHS worker Susan told us “I used to work in the NHS, but I could not be a vaccinator as my nursing certificate had expired, so when I saw CAN’s volunteer vaccination marshal opportunity, I jumped at the chance to help. It is great to meet people, get out of the house and be part of a supportive group. The patients really like to see a friendly face and have a chat with us. We had a group of people in this week who had additional needs and it was lovely to have the time to talk to them and make sure they were OK. It’s good to look back on almost 2 years, although it almost feels surreal what has happened, it’s been such an amazing experience.” 


 One of our brilliant retirees Bill said “I moved here from the Midlands over 7 years ago when I retired, and I wanted to give something back to the NHS as they had been so great. I enjoy volunteering as I get on with everyone, however it can be tough standing outside marshaling when its pouring with rain! It’s easy to book shifts which I can fit around my life and other commitments. If you are looking to volunteer yourself, you should give it a try as it fills a few hours in the day and the people are very friendly.”




One of our longest standing volunteers Terry told us “I started on the second week at the BIC. I really enjoyed the outdoor shifts and being a buggy driver. The funniest time was being shown how to use the buggy by someone who had little experience of golf buggies when I had been using them when playing golf for years! The site would not run so smoothly without the volunteers helping out and giving their time. For me, volunteering is fun and it’s a chance to meet new people.”