Community Action Network (CAN) is a local infrastructure charity based in the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council area of Dorset. Through the pandemic we’ve been recruiting and supporting people to volunteer in their community, and at the large scale vaccination site at the BIC in Bournemouth, where we’re contracted by the NHS to provide CAN volunteers. We now have a team of nearly 2,000.

We decided to include young people 16+ in our volunteer team at the BIC as we knew they would bring a valuable diversity of perspective to the role, and believe the input of young people is sometimes underestimated. We made sure to put measures in place to safeguard them, but other than that they are treated equitably with the other volunteers. We now have 96 young  people involved and it’s going really well – they tell us they enjoy feeling part of something bigger than themselves and have gained confidence in an supportive environment. Our clinical colleagues have also been so generous and talking with the young people about a future career in the NHS – this has inspired many of them to consider their future. 

This is Massimo (16) who lives locally. He was motivated to volunteer as he wanted to “give back to my community in a time of crisis”. Since volunteering he tells us “it’s a great feeling knowing I’m helping bring back normality!” He’s also aware that volunteering will give him life experience he can include on his CV in the future….Massimo’s advice to other young volunteers “just give it a try”.