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NHS Volunteer Army - Our People!

Category: Blogs Released: 11 April 2020

Over the past month, the NHS have asked people from around the UK to join the NHS in the fight against COVID-19 by signing up to volunteer for the NHS Volunteer Army. As a business, AirTanker fully support this initiative and have encouraged staff who would like to volunteer to do so.

James Plumstead, Director of People and Support said “As a business we whole-heartedly support employees who would like to volunteer for the NHS Volunteer Army. This is an act of compassion and commitment, to show such consideration for others during this really terrible time is something we recognise and commend as a business”

Following a call to action from Health Secretary Matt Hancock requesting 250,000 volunteers, more than 500,000 people have signed up to be volunteers for the NHS to help the national effort to fight COVID-19. This initiative has been set up to help the 1.5 million ‘at risk’ Britons who have been asked to stay at home for the next 12 weeks. 

Anyone who is over the age of 18, fit and healthy and non-symptomatic can offer their time to the scheme and help to deliver shopping to vulnerable people, transport patients to and from hospital, drive medicines and equipment to NHS facilities and check up on isolated individuals by telephone.

We spoke to two of our employees who have signed up to the scheme as Community Response Volunteers to find out why they decided to sign up and about their journey so far!


Darrell Collins – Technical Support Customer Liaison Manager

How has the business supported your decision to volunteer?

It was a huge relief that AirTanker fully support this vital work. This meant that I could provide assistance to people anytime of the day, and more critically when they need it.

Why did you volunteer for the NHS Army?

I have been meaning to sign up to the Royal Voluntary Service for some time, and when the Government announced the call for people to volunteer for the NHS Army, I put my money where my mouth was and signed up.

At certain times in our lives we need to all come together and help those who can’t help themselves. This is one of those times and I am proud to be one of the many people within AirTanker, and the wider country that have the time, ability and resource to be able to provide this much needed help.

What role did you sign up for?

I decided to sign up as a Community Response Volunteer, this way I could directly help vulnerable people in my community by collecting and delivering essentials for them, such as food and medicine, and maybe even just to offer a conversation or friendly face during these times of extreme isolation.

What sort for training have you had?

Training to be a responder is all via online NHS Fact Sheets which detail the ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ of each specific role. Mine was essentially to collect essentials, deliver them and wait to confirm with the recipient that all was ok, then leave. There is also the possibility of being called in to a Hospital to support in any way they deem necessary. This would be dealt with separately and require onsite training.

Have you been called out to assist yet?

Unlike the tireless NHS staff, the work for us hasn’t begun yet. I hope that when it does, the NHS Army can assist the current NHS staff by helping the vulnerable, maybe save lives, and show that as a society, when it counts, we’ve got each other.


Hannah Abrahaley – Project Officer

How has the business supported your decision to volunteer?

I’m really proud to be part of a business that so openly and so quickly has encouraged people to volunteer for the NHS Army. It really shows how AirTanker, in this time of national stress, is proactive in supporting communities and employees.

Why did you volunteer for the NHS Army?

“It is often during the worst of times that we see the best of humanity”[1].

This pandemic is a horrible, terrible thing.

But during this horrible, terrible time, I’ve seen people step up across the country to serve their neighbours and their community. The most ‘ordinary’ among us are doing great, unordinary things to show compassion and to help each other. This is what motivated me to sign up to the NHS Army.

What role did you sign up for?

I have signed up as a Community Response Volunteer so that I could help the most vulnerable get the essentials they need during this difficult time.

I’m also hoping to bring a few smiles to those that maybe haven’t laughed in a while.

What sort for training have you had?

I haven’t received any training yet, hopefully they’ll get to me soon!

Have you been called out to assist yet?

Not yet, hopefully soon so we can start to help the NHS frontline staff who have already done so much heroic work.


We will be checking in with Darrell and Hannah over the coming months to find out about their experience as an NHS Volunteer and thank all key workers that are continuing to provide vital support and care across the nation.


[1] Evans, R. P, Timepiece (ed. Simon and Schuster, 1997).

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