The unsung heroes of the pandemic: public service volunteers

A paramedic student studying in Sheffield has been volunteering to help the vulnerable during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Since the outbreak of the virus, there has been a huge demand for shopping and prescription collection from those shielding or self-isolating.

Ashley Corrigan, 27, a paramedic student living in Sheffield, started voluntary work as a ‘Goodsam’ responder at the beginning of the pandemic, using his first aid skills to perform CPR to people calling 999 in his area.

This then later led him to work for the Royal Voluntary Service in South Yorkshire, helping those vulnerable in the community with their shopping and medication whilst they were isolating at home.

Mr Corrigan said: “My first challenge was my very first call, I was nervous as I had never done shopping for someone before.

“The person was so happy to receive it and it felt rewarding to give them this little token of help.

“This experience has taught me how to make the biggest difference by doing the smallest thing.”

The Royal Voluntary Service mobilises volunteers all over the country to provide practical help to those who are unable to get out due to self-isolation.

Volunteers can help the community in various ways, to take the stress and demands off of residents in isolation.

They have not only offered help during the pandemic, but has been running for over 80 years, with many different voluntary opportunities available.

Chief executive of the Royal Voluntary Service, Catherine Johnstone, said: “We are incredibly thankful to all of the volunteers who have stepped forwards so far to help keep communities safe through the pandemic.

“We are continuing to see an increase in requests for support and now, more than ever need more volunteers to join us. We encourage anyone who can to please support your community with vital tasks so we can keep people safe and support the NHS.”

If you are interested in joining the Royal Voluntary Service, you can sign up at


Written by Eleanor Brooker

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