“I remember being totally humbled and in awe”

Photo of Jon Benjamin, one of the Nonsuch vaccination volunteers

Published Tuesday, 1st June 2021

Volunteers Tris and Jon share their experiences of supporting residents at the Nonsuch vaccination site, some of whom hadn’t left their homes for a long time.

At the Nonsuch vaccination site, 200 volunteers helped tens of thousands of local residents get vaccinated safely. Volunteers Tris and Jon share their experiences of supporting residents, some of whom hadn’t left their homes for a long time. 

For Tris, the memory of a lady who arrived in her “Sunday Best” outfit was unforgettable:

I asked if she was going somewhere special afterwards, to which she replied ‘My dear, this is the first time I’ve been out of my slippers since March last year; I finally have a reason to get dressed up even if it is just for a vaccine!'.”

Being part of such a significant moment in people’s lives, after such a challenging 16 months, has been a moving experience for many volunteers.

“I remember being totally humbled and in awe, watching these patients braving the elements and looking so happy to be getting their first vaccines,” says Tris. There were no complaints, just relief, as for many it was the first time leaving their homes since the first lockdown.”

Tris’ positive experience has inspired him to keep volunteering:

Tris volunteering at the Nonsuch Vaccination site credit Carole Baker

“I really look forward to working both as Flight Crew and as a volunteer when I go back to my regular job in the future.”

Jon’s experience as a volunteer has also had a big impact on his life:

After each shift, we all really felt like we’d made a little difference to people’s lives. The experience reinforced for me just how important community is, especially in these times. I enjoyed it so much, that it - combined with mentoring a young boy via Volunteer Centre Sutton - has made me reevaluate my career.

I’m now seriously looking for a job in the social care sector where I feel I can use my people and management skills to better use.”

With Covid vaccinations now available at more community locations in Sutton, the Nonsuch Park Vaccination site closed at the end of April. During a virtual event to thank all the staff and volunteers who had worked there, Councillor Ruth Dombey, Leader of Sutton Council, said: 

“Our volunteers were absolutely extraordinary and I was honoured to be invited to such a special event to be able to thank them for their efforts.

“All of the staff and the volunteers who worked at the Nonsuch Mansion site were a real credit to the borough and the Volunteer Centre Sutton did a great job coordinating and organising it all. I was delighted to be able to say thank you personally to everyone involved.”

To find out more about volunteering in Sutton, contact Volunteer Centre Sutton.