Hundreds of thousands of volunteers are ready to report for duty to help the NHS through the coronavirus crisis.
More than 750,000 people - three times the original target - signed up to join the "volunteer army", as the country answered the biggest call for volunteers in England since the Second World War.
Volunteers will come to the aid of 2.5 million at-risk people.
From today the volunteers will be:
- delivering medicines from pharmacies;
- driving patients to appointments;
- bringing them home from the hospital;
- making regular phone calls to check on people isolating at home;
- transporting medical supplies and equipment for the NHS.
The scheme is being supported by the use of an app, which allows health professionals, pharmacists and local authorities to upload requests for help on the NHS Volunteer Responders referrer’s portal.
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: “The number of people who came forward to help some of the most vulnerable in their communities is truly extraordinary."
Catherine Johnstone CBE, Chief Executive at Royal Voluntary Service said they have been "overwhelmed by the outpouring of kindness" across England and the many thousands of people wanting to "play their part".
The Health Secretary, who tested positive for Covid-19 two weeks ago, said: “I want to thank every single person who signed up to be an NHS Volunteer Responder – their incredible generosity means we can now start helping those most in need across our communities and, in turn, support our heroic NHS staff and social care staff as they continue their outstanding work."