A CHILMARK-BASED disaster response charity has seen its busiest operational week in history.

RE:ACT volunteers have been providing support to the NHS as well as local authorities across the country throughout the pandemic and have been supporting vaccination clinics at Salisbury’s City Hall, Shepton Mallet, Plymouth and Exeter.

Charlie McLaughlan, who is the charity's volunteer for the City Hall vaccinations, said: "As far as RE:ACT is concerned our role is to get things off the ground really and make sure everything works and get a plan in place so subsequent volunteers when they come in know what roles need to be filled whether it is somebody at the front door or swabbing down chairs after patients have been in them.”

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The volunteers greet patients and do administrative checks of names and addresses before patients go to clinical staff for their vaccination. Afterwards the volunteers check if they are okay.

“People are standing up with RE:ACT because they want to do something helpful they are actually feeling the benefits of doing something for their community locally as well,” adds Charlie, who says as well as benefitting the community it also gives volunteers the chance to engage with people.

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Richard Sharp, CEO RE:ACT, said: "We're hugely proud to be supporting the Salisbury NHS vaccination centre and it was a privilege to personally meet our volunteers on the ground and see the difference they're making. Some of the public arriving for vaccinations have been shielding for months so to have our volunteers engaging with them and helping them through the process is enormously rewarding.

"It's a significant moment for us, to have pivoted from an international disaster response charity to support the UK in response to Covid, to now being able to help the local community here in Salisbury on our own doorstep, and I want to thank everyone for their support."

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The charity, which relies on public donations, has also been helping across the country with temporary mortuary facilities, and Covid testing at schools.

It is now also supporting surge testing in Woking following the discovery of cases of the variant of the virus.

RE:ACT CEO Richard Sharp, said: “We’re ten months into our Covid response, we haven’t stopped, and last week was the busiest operational week in our history. On Monday we had over 275 volunteers on the ground, and by Friday it was 314, all spun up by a small but hugely committed team.

"By any normal measure we should have stopped many months ago. But what holds our charity together and keeps us going is the unrelenting desire of our people to do anything and everything we can to support people in need. It is staggering and fills me with such pride to see the lengths we’ll go to do what’s necessary.”

Visit: re-act.org.uk

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