NHS volunteer plans selfie memento as he helps out in coronavirus crisis

A volunteer in the country’s coronavirus crisis plans to record his experience by taking socially distanced selfies with the people he helps along the way.

Daniel Heath, 29, from Haverhill near Cambridge, was partly inspired to sign up to the volunteering effort by his loved ones who work on the NHS frontline.

Mr Heath, who is among the 750,000 volunteers reporting for duty to help vulnerable people, has already begun helping out in his area and plans to start taking selfies so that in years to come he can look back on the unprecedented events of 2020.

He told the PA news agency: “I wanted to give something back and help the country and the people as much as possible through this pandemic.

“I wanted to be one of those that gets out and helps people that are in need, the older people that can’t get out and have to isolate because they’re at risk.

“I just wanted to be part of that team that helps to get everyone through this pandemic.”

Mr Heath, whose mother and sister work for the NHS on Covid-19 wards, reported for duty this week and has already helped an elderly couple by collecting their prescription from a pharmacy.

Daniel Heath
Daniel Heath is one of thousands of volunteers (PA)

He said he left their essentials in a box at their door, knocked, and walked back so that he was a safe distance away.

“They were grateful, very grateful,” he said.

Mr Heath, whose partner is a cardio physiologist in the NHS, said: “It felt really good to do it, because you’ve not just given something back, you’ve helped people that can’t get out to get their own medication.”

He now plans to start taking photographs with everyone he helps throughout the crisis.

“It would be nice to see a few of the people multiple times, because then you sort of get to know them a little bit, from a distance obviously.

“I did say to my partner that I want to take a selfie with everyone I’ve helped from a distance, and just get them in the background waving or something, and then I can compile hundreds of pictures of all the people I’ve helped over the time and then just say these are all the people I’ve helped when it’s all over,” he said.

Mr Heath added: “I really want to just give back. All the years that I’ve been helped with stuff it’s about time that I gave back a bit, and it’s going to be nice to help these people.

The staggering number of volunteers who have stepped forward as #NHSVolunteerResponders means that NHS clinicians and their colleagues in social care will be able to refer EVEN MORE vulnerable people for vital support.

— Royal Voluntary Service (@RoyalVolService) April 7, 2020

“And I do want the memento, because then you can look back on it and go ‘Do you remember in 2020 when I helped the 110 people with their daily needs because they couldn’t go out because they were locked in?’

“It will be nice to look back and share that with people.”

Mr Heath, who is manager at Nuclear High Ropes, has plenty of time on his hands as his workplace is closed.

He said he cannot be furloughed as he started the job after the cut-off date of February 28.

“I’ve got all this free time where I’m not working. I might as well be doing something that’s benefiting everyone and helping to slow down the spread of this virus,” he said.

The Royal Voluntary Service, the charity delivering the volunteer effort, will have completed checks for the three quarters of a million applications by the end of Tuesday.

Due to the huge response, the group of vulnerable people they will support in England has now been expanded and they will come to the aid of 2.5 million at-risk people.

Volunteers will be delivering medicines from pharmacies, driving patients to appointments, bringing them home from hospital, making regular phone calls to check on people isolating at home, and transporting medical supplies and equipment for the NHS.

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