An older Sheffielder who struggles to walk has hailed a charity scheme for helping him to get his virus vaccine.  

Roy Helliwell, aged 78, reached his appointment thanks to Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care (SCCCC), who are escorting existing service users in an extension to one of their flagship schemes. 

The father of three says the two SCCCC team members who drove him to his appointment and kept him company whilst he was there, helped him to overcome his anxieties about the jab. 

Roy said: “I was referred to the charity by my physiotherapist, who thought I would benefit from having someone to talk to. I was paired with Brian, a volunteer from the charity’s Good Neighbour Scheme and he rings me once a week. 

“During the first stages of the pandemic, I enjoyed pottering around my garden, but now it’s too cold and I’m just stuck inside my house. I have three sons and they visit me when they can, around their work. I always tell them work is the most important thing and not to put me first.  

“Then I got the invite for my vaccine in January. I was worrying about getting there because I get nervous of falling in the street, and I didn’t feel a taxi would be safe. If it had been the day before, my son could have taken me, but he had work commitments. So when SCCCC offered to take me I felt really relieved.  

“The two ladies who took me were really good to me. I was a bit nervous, so one of them, Emma, stood with me whilst I was waiting. One advantage of someone talking to me, was my worries went, and I didn’t even know I’d had the jab. Her chatting to me for the 15 minutes after was also a welcome relief.”   

Emma Ward, Hospital to Home team member, said: “Roy was a delight to escort to his vaccine. He was ready and waiting for us when we picked him up. I was allowed to escort him into the surgery and wait with him in the queue. He said that he was glad of the company as he was a little nervous, and it was actually quite a long time standing so I was able to get him a chair. 

“We had a wonderful time waiting in the queue, and we talked about Roy’s wonderful marriage and the strong bond he has now with his sister-in-law who lives in Canada and who he plays online Scrabble with!  

“The jab went fine. He said he didn’t feel a thing. It’s fantastic that as part of SCCCC we get to be able to provide this kind of additional support, particularly at such a crucial moment for the nation’s older people. 

“Roy was able to get what he needed to feel safe and well, just by getting a lift to the centre and having a little moral support by his side. It was little effort on our part, yet it had a big impact for Roy and his family. This was only my second day in the job at SCCCC and I had a real smile on my face knowing I had already made a little positive difference to someone’s life – and had a great chat to boot!”