Camaraderie shown in communities across the country during the Covid-19 outbreak has been tremendous, and one Riverside resident is no exception as he has put himself on the frontline to work in dangerous circumstances.
When the pandemic took hold in this country earlier this year, Anton Newcombe wanted to do something worthwhile to support his community, so put himself forward to work on the ICU ward which looks after patients with the coronavirus.
He cycles 14 miles for each shift from Mike Jackson House in Aldershot to Frimley Park Hospital in Camberley.
“I was already working in the hospital as a porter and I heard that they needed someone to work on the ICU ward which looks after Covid-19 patients, but they had no response so I volunteered for the role,” explained Anton.
He added: “I’m wearing high level PPE kit as I’m working in close contact with patients suffering from the coronavirus, cleaning around the beds and all the surfaces, as well as making sure they are wearing their face masks. I wanted to help during this crisis, it gives me a sense of fulfilment of giving back and looking after the elderly.
“It is also keeping me stimulated during lockdown and has given me an awful lot of pride, constantly trying to keep the virus from spreading by cleaning the same things over and over where people would touch.”
The 23-year-old adheres to a ritual before and after each shift to ensure that he doesn’t contract or spread the virus.
He added: “It gets really hot within five minutes of wearing the PPE kit so I have keep myself hydrated. I’m trained in the proper procedures on how to put on and take off the PPE kit off, I then shower at the hospital and again when I get back home as an extra safety measure.”
Anton, who is originally from Yorkshire, resides at Mike Jackson House in Aldershot, Riverside’s supported housing for veterans’ who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
He is due to return to the Army later this year but it didn’t stop him from helping the COVID cause.
He continued: “I was undergoing training with the Infantry in Catterick Garrison before the outbreak but decided I wanted to transfer to the Royal Logistics Corps instead. But then the outbreak came and stalled my transfer so I’m at Mike Jackson House until I can resume training again with the new regiment.
“Until then I’m pleased to be to give back to the elderly that founded our future and to help people less capable and most vulnerable.”
Riverside is the third largest provider of homelessness services in the country, and its Care and Support operation works with over 16,000 customers every year.