THE pandemic led to the re-evaluation of many aspects of society.
With many cut off from their families it was left to us to forge our own families which in its broadest term is a body united in its desire to protect all its members.
For one particular family, the Powys Covid vaccination team, this meant protecting all of society and their endeavor has now been recognized with the Powys Times Community Heroes Family of the Year Award.
Total volunteer hours given across the three vaccination centers from during the pandemic add up to a staggering 30,338 hours with 522 volunteers signed up to support the program with 200 volunteers still deployed across the three centres.
Adrian Osborne, Program Director for COVID-19 Vaccination and Test Trace Protect for Powys Teaching Health Board said: “I am so delighted for the whole team that they have been honored with this award. It is so fitting that they have received the Family Of The Year award as this truly has felt like a massive extended family coming together for the COVID vaccination effort in Powys.
“We all now hope that we can continue to take further steps out of lockdown. One of the most important achievements that helps the country to take these steps has been the vaccination programme.
Eira Meyer on the first day of vaccination in Newtown.
“Here in Powys we have had the most successful vaccination program of all health boards in Wales, with over 90 per cent of adults having taken up their first dose and nearly 80 per cent having already received their booster.
“This has been possible first and foremost because of the people of Powys who have taken up their invitation. And then we have the excellent team of staff administering the vaccine and supporting the program – in vaccination centres, GP practices, care homes, special schools and people’s own homes.
“Key to the county’s success has been hundreds of volunteers giving their time to offer a friendly welcome, help and support.
“In Newtown the partnership with Freedom Leisure has been vital and it was an emotional day on February 3 as we relocated from Maldwyn Leisure Center and said goodbye to the team who have hosted us for over year.
Jo Allen on the first day of vaccination in December 2020.
“In Llanelwedd the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society have been amazing, and together we pulled out all the stops to temporarily close the vaccination center in November to make way for the Winter Fair.
“Alongside this we’ve seen brilliant support from local authority, armed forces, fire and police and the business sector.
“With over 300,000 doses now delivered in the county this is a phenomenal achievement that we can all be proud of.”
The sentiments were echoed by Jenny Spreafico, the lead nurse for the COVID-19 vaccination program in Powys.
She said: “This award really is so fitting as we have been just like a big family working together. In fact at our busiest times I have spent more time with vaccination colleagues than with my own family.
“We have never had to do anything quite like the COVID vaccination program before. But the pandemic has thrown us together, forged new and strong relationships both between individuals and between organisations, and we have delivered the biggest vaccination program the county has ever seen. ”
Members of the Armed Forces supporting the vaccination effort in Newtown.
“What we have achieved in Powys is really groundbreaking, and that does not happen by accident but because the people of Powys have brought their skills and passion to do the best they can.”
Jacqui Seaton, Chief Pharmacist at Powys Teaching Health Board added: “I joined the health board during COVID and the vaccination program has been the best induction program I could have had, meeting so many of my new colleagues so quickly and coming together to deliver such a major public health programme.
“We developed relationships really quickly that otherwise could have taken years to grow. As well as helping me to connect with my new team, it has been an opportunity for our Medicines Management team to truly shine, for their confidence to grow. and to build foundations for the future in Powys.”
Many of the hero volunteers remain anonymous but their roles in protecting the public remain their legacy.
“It taught me that we take a lot for granted and I am fortunate to have seen some of the largest smiles I have seen that will stay with me forever. Making a difference to our community is a privilege and something that all volunteers should be so proud of,” said one while another added: “It was privilege to be part of history, make a difference in recovering from the pandemic, and positively contribute to the community.”
One said: “I enjoy my voluntary role as a vaccination marshall as it gives me a chance to give back to our community. Guiding members of the public safely to receiving their vaccination is rewarding and gives vital support to the NHS”
“I really enjoy volunteering and have had the opportunity to make some good friends whilst contributing to a good cause. Volunteering makes me feel happy,” said one and another said: “I volunteered as I wanted to help and be part of something that would make a difference to so many during such a difficult time. I’ve enjoyed every aspect of my volunteering role.”
Radnor Hills, sponsors of the Family of the Year Award
Radnor Hills was founded in 1991 by fifth generation farmer, William Watkins and has since then produced a variety of waters and soft drinks favored by all ages.
What makes our water so unique, is that the water source is located in a very unpopulated area which is able to be naturally filtered through layers of rock to achieve its exceptional taste and purity.
As you consume our product you will be consuming one of the natural wonders of Wales.
Radnor Hills are proud to be sponsoring the Family of the Year Award.
As a manufacturer of soft drinks that are favored by families, we try and support families every way we can which is why we are overjoyed to be sponsoring the Family of the Year Award.