In one of the biggest mobilisations in history, 170,000 ordinary-yet-extraordinary people just signed up to to join Matt Hancock’s volunteer army, and we’re pretty inspired.
The Health Secretary called on Tuesday for 250,000 people to help deliver food to the vulnerable, shop and take medicines the elderly who are currently ‘shielding’. And overnight a deluge of Good Samaritans came forward, putting the army on a setting to comfortably smash through the goal.
Anyone keen to help can register online, you have to be in good health (obviously) and willing to muck in. If you pass the screening then you will receive a login to the GoodSam app, which will then mark people as being ‘on duty’ to respond.
The tasks, which can mostly be carried out while observing social distancing, will take place in responders’ local area.
All that’s needed is that volunteers are over 18 year olds and have no coronavirus symptoms. If volunteers are in higher-risk groups, including those who are over 70, pregnant or have underlying medical conditions then they’ll be able to offer support by telephone.
The huge response comes as the NHS brings back over 11,000 recently retired doctors and nurses as well as over 5,000 final year medical students who will be drafted in to help with the coming crisis. In addition the huge Excel Centre in London’s Docklands is being repurposed by the army into a massive coronavirus hospital. The two wards will each have 2,000 coronavirus patients in an unprecedented level of preparation.
Hancock’s volunteer army will start receiving their welcome packs and be up-and-running imminently. The heartwarming response at the NHS’s time of need demonstrates just how highly the institution is valued, and how dedicated and selfless people can be.