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Coronavirus: Volunteer ranks swell to more than 14,000 as public steps up to help

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More than 14,000 people have now signed up to Northern Ireland's health and social care workforce in the fight against coronavirus

More than 14,000 people have now signed up to Northern Ireland's health and social care workforce in the fight against coronavirus

More than 14,000 people have now signed up to Northern Ireland's health and social care workforce in the fight against coronavirus

More than 14,000 people have now signed up to Northern Ireland's health and social care workforce in the fight against coronavirus.

The scheme was announced by the Department of Health last weekend, with Health Minister Robin Swann telling the public: "Northern Ireland needs you."

At least 1,500 of the total registrations have been made by clinical staff, while 5,300 are support staff such as hospital porters and drivers.

The positive response - which saw those signing up doubling from around 4,000 to over 8,000 within 48 hours of the scheme opening -has been hailed as great news by Mr Swann.

That figure has since risen to over 14,000 within the first week of the appeal, the health department revealed yesterday.

The Department of Health plans to invite second-year nursing, midwifery and allied health professions, including physiotherapy, radiography and occupational therapy, to further support care delivery as part of the scheme. More non-clinical workers are also needed for paid employment, including as porters, catering staff, cleaning and domestic services workers.

Mr Swann has thanked the public for stepping up to assist our health workers.

Across the UK, around 20,000 former NHS staff have returned to work in a bid to support workers in ensuring the health service is not overwhelmed during the crisis.

Meanwhile, the Department for Communities is supporting the Volunteer Now scheme, #HelpEachOther in an effort to support those impacted socially by the virus.

So far, over 1,000 people have signed up to the campaign, which helps individuals and organisations receive help from the service which is being run by Volunteer Now, the main body for volunteering.

Roles include telephone befriending, undertaking light shopping, walking the dog, packing food hampers, along with many others.

To find out more information about either appeal visit www.hscworkforceappeal.co.uk and www.volunteernow.co.uk

Belfast Telegraph