Mary has found volunteering at a COVID-19 vaccination site to be a great experience.

She describes her first session as a car park marshal as entirely positive.


What led you to volunteer? I had never volunteered for anything before I retired and had spent my working life in a busy office environment. My original plan on retiring was to go on a long trip to Australia but lockdown changed that plan. I’d always thought I would volunteer on returning to the UK so I decided to do it earlier.

How did you hear about the vaccination support role? I had already signed up to the Volunteer Matching Service and received a call asking if I would be a car park marshal at a vaccination session; I said yes straight away. After some initial discussions, I had my first shift at Chesham Town Hall in early January. On the back of that experience, I am looking forward to doing more.

How was your first session as a car park marshal? On arrival at the site, I first had to take a swab test. Then I shadowed the volunteers who were coming to the end of their shift so I could see what had to be done. It was all very well organised.

I did a variety of tasks including directing people, encouraging hand-sanitising and taking temperatures. I understand tasks vary from session to session depending on the site and the number of volunteers on hand.

Did you feel safe at the volunteering session? Yes completely – everyone was wearing a mask and wherever possible everyone kept 2 metres apart. If we did come closer, for example when I was taking a temperature, it would only be for a few seconds. Any item passed from one person to another was immediately wiped down and we all sanitised our hands regularly.

Was it very busy? There was a very high turn-out. While I was there, there was only one person who did not show up from the list of those expected.

What do you gain personally from volunteering? There was a lovely atmosphere there; it was great to chat to the older people as they arrived at the session as well as the family members who had brought them.

Not only did I feel I was doing something positive and useful, but it also gave me the opportunity to get out of the house and interact with other people safely.

What difference does volunteering make to others?  Volunteers help to ensure that the people arriving for their jabs have a good experience. Everyone was so kind to the patients as they arrived, I heard lots of comments from people as they left the building about how well-organised it was.

Would you recommend this type of volunteering? I certainly would recommend it to anyone who is healthy. You are making a positive difference and get some much-needed social contact.


If you are looking for a volunteering role, you can register your interest with the Buckinghamshire Volunteer Matching Service.

Updated on September 18, 2023

Image courtesy of St Francis's Children Society