Rev Bob Evans, the vicar of Heeley Parish Church was approached by 1AST pharmacy in Abbeydale Road which chose Heeley as an area to provide vaccinations.
“The pharmacy contacted us, because the NHS was inviting organisations to run national vaccination centres, and the NHS had highlighted Heeley as an area which they’d like there to be one,”
said Mr Evans.
The Gleadless Road church is one of the places in the area with capacity and facilities to accommodate the service.
“We are a public building, we recognise we have good facilities, there’s good parking outside, we felt it was the right thing to do,” he added.
Mr Evans said he recognised that taking on such te role would be difficult as other organisations also used the church and would have to fit in alongside the vaccination scheme.
“It raises a lot of issues having up to 270 people going through the church every day – and they have to go in one way and out another.
“It also means that for every group that uses the church, there are consequences for them, how they use it, and the areas they can use.
“It will cause a lot of pain and a lot of difficulty, but we felt it was the right thing to do,” he added.
The church is now looking for a number of volunteers to help on vaccination days for tasks such as directing people to the correct areas; they currently don’t have an exact figure in mind.
“We probably need 20 volunteers, so we’ve got a pool of people we can call on at various times,” said Mr Evans.
“It is a NHS requirement that the facility is available for use seven days a week, from 8am to 8pm, but the pharmacy is hoping that they will be able to use all their allocation of vaccines Monday to Friday.
“We have a few weddings coming up, they're all on Saturdays – but the vaccination centre has undertaken that they will not be open when our weddings are happening.”
Bob has envisaged that there will possibly be a surplus of vaccines due to cancellations and no shows.As well as opening up as a vaccination centre, other important community projects are being run from the church.
The church also acts as a food bank collection point for Gleadless Valley Methodist Church which welcomes support from the public, in the form of dry non perishable food, as well toiletries, and nappies, all donations are greatly appreciated.
And a new scheme is also being run in the form of a chool uniform recycle scheme.
People whose children attend or attended, either Anns Grove Primary School or Newfield Secondary School are invited to donate uniforms they no longer need at the church where there is a box to receive them.
“So many children found they’ve hardly worn their uniforms this year and the kids have grown out of them.
“Many find them expensive to buy, so we started the recycle project so people can give their uniforms.
“We wash them, repair them and iron them, then offer items for 50p or free to get them back into use,” said Mr Evans.
For further information regarding vaccination volunteering call 0114 255 7718; anyone wishing to take advantage of the surplus vaccine jabs are invited to call 0114 258 1313 for further instructions.