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Sheila Vaidya


Sheila began working with dementia patients when she volunteered to join the Trust in December last year. However, the ward she was working on for one day a week, Viking, had to close when COVID-19 struck.

Undaunted, the 43-year-old accepted a “fantastic opportunity” to join the vaccination programme as a steward for two days a week.

“In these challenging times it was very important for me to volunteer because I wanted to help and support the NHS, especially the most vulnerable,” she says. “This was the most perfect way to contribute and make a difference. It makes me feel so privileged that I’m able to make a difference to someone else’s life.”

Sheila, who lives in Crawley, previously worked for Foreign Exchange at Gatwick Airport for more than 20 years.

“After choosing redundancy due to COVID-19, I felt I had to do something different, where I could utilise my skills and my spare time,” she says. “As my husband was already working for the NHS, he suggested that I should volunteer at Crawley Hospital. I really didn’t think this was possible. I investigated further online and found out how I could go about doing this, and in no time I started volunteering.

“The most satisfying part of my role at the vaccination centre is when I get to see the joy and the sense of relief on people’s faces as they walk through the door for their vaccines. It’s priceless!”

Sheila says volunteering to work on the vaccination programme is “rewarding”.

“The more I give, the more satisfied I feel. From day one, I have felt valued and part of a big happy family.

“I would definitely recommend volunteering as it provides a unique opportunity to help and support the community,” she says. “This not only boosts your confidence but gives you a chance to try something new and build a real sense of achievement.

“One thing is for sure; during the pandemic we have all learnt how to come together and support each other. The only way to look forward is to continue supporting the community, hoping that someday we will beat this virus and relieve some pressure on the NHS.”