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Drawn by member Jo to represent life in lockdown




From member Claire who is working as a COVID-19 Study health worker

Shortly before the pandemic resulted in lockdown, I started a new job.  I was working as a social research field work interviewer, going round to people’s houses and interviewing people in the household on various studies for the government or academic institutions.  I really enjoyed the work and was just getting to grips with the technology involved when – bang – lockdown – and I was furloughed.  I quite enjoyed the first month of lockdown, lots of walking and gardening and quite a lot of Soroptimist meetings.  I also became the acting chair of a homeless charity in Lewes, Lewes Open Door, during lockdown, so I was quite busy.  However about 4 weeks into lockdown my employer asked if I was interested in a new role as a study health worker on the Office for National Statistics COVID-19 Infection Survey.  After learning all about it I decided to say yes and since 6 May I have been working 4 days a week on the study, driving across East and West Sussex to take information from some of the 11,000 plus households in the UK who have volunteered to take part in the study and collecting their swab samples and taking them to the courier for the tests to be taken to the laboratory for testing.  The study aims to find out how many people have the infection now or have had it in the past.  The study collects information about people’s ages, health and occupations as well to assess the relative risks for different sectors of the population.  One of the first people whose test I collected in Worthing turned out to be positive and he had had no symptoms of any kind, so it is clear that this is very useful research.  Over the next year the plan is to include around 132,000 households from across the UK.  I have already seen quite a lot of information in the press which has resulted from the study, so I feel very glad to be able to be a part of it.




From member Denise who has been volunteering at Brighton Hospital

I am the secretary of the Eastbourne and District Soroptimists Club and I work as a commercial trainer for St John Ambulance but during Covid there have been no first aid courses so also as a volunteer for St John Ambulance I have had the opportunity to work at Brighton Hospital in the A and E department.  As there are no events we are not volunteering doing first aid cover. So this is another way to volunteer to help during this time.

Below is a picture of me with my PPE and my ECG and observations  machine.

 To be ready to go into hospital, to support staff, even though I am an advanced first aider, I did a 6 hour on line course for Covid 19 and then I did a 2 day face to face training in Brighton. Together with an induction to the hospital.

We work at the level of the HCA in hospital. We can take observations, including blood sugar levels,  with additional training we do blood gases and use the ECG and set up the heart monitor. We escort patients to X ray and for scans, transfer people onto beds and support wherever if needed. I am having an incredible time. The skills I am learning will be useful when I am on first aid duty as a volunteer but will also help when I train first aid courses as I will have many stories to tell.  I work in the assessment unit for walk in patients and on the wards looking after patients, changing beds and helping with anything that is required.  I do 2 days on and 2 days off so I get a rest between the long 12 hour shifts. I started this in May and we are running at the moment to the end of June.

The staff are so pleased to have us helping and 6 people do the day shift 7-30 am to 8pm  and several do the night shift. 7.30 pm to 8 am. I am delighted to have been given this opportunity.